From 'John' the bookmaker to Paine's sexting: Controversies that have tainted Australian cricket since 1981

From the infamous underarm bowling in 1981 to 'John' the bookmaker scandal, here's a list of controversies that have tainted Australian cricket

Tim Paine's sexting scandal

Tim Paine resigned as Australian Test cricket captain on November 19 over sending (exchanging) inappropriate text messages with a former female colleague in 2017. 

"Nearly four years ago, I was involved in a text exchange with a then-colleague. I recently became aware that this private text exchange was going to become public. On reflection, my actions in 2017 do not meet the standard of an Australian cricket captain, or the wider community," said 36-year-old Paine who took over the Test captaincy in March 2018. 

"I'm deeply sorry for the hurt and pain that I have caused to my wife, my family, and to the other party. I'm sorry for any damage that this does to the reputation of our sport."


Ball-tampering scandal

In 2018, the cricketing world was rocked when a cheating scandal was uncovered during a Test match between Australia and South Africa at  Newlands in Cape Town. 

In March, during the third Test between Australia and South Africa, on-field cameras caught Australian batter Cameron Bancroft trying to rough up one side of the ball with a piece of sandpaper to make it swing, in a way tampering it. 

In the wake of the shocking incident, also known as the Sandpapergate, then captain Steve Smith and then vice-captain David Warner had resigned. Although, he was not found to be directly involved but then coach Darren Lehmann, also stepped down. 

Smith and Warner were suspended from all forms of cricket for 12 months and Bancroft was suspended for nine months. 


'John' the bookmaker

Australian legends Mark Waugh and Shane Warne were involved in controversies in the mid-1990s, reportedly 1994–95. It was found that both the players were approached by 'John' the bookmaker, an Indian agent, who gave money to them in return for pitch and weather information. 

It was reported in 1998 by the media and escalated even further as it was understood that Australian cricket tried to cover it up. 


Shane Warne's ban

Australian legendary spinner Shane Warne was banned from cricket for 12 months by the Australian Cricket Board in February 2003 after testing positive for a banned substance. 

He said he took a diet tablet provided by his mother after he tested positive for the drugs hydrochlorothiazide and amiloride. It is known that both diuretics are normally used for weight loss, however, it can also serve as masking agents for performance-enhancing drugs.  

"I feel I am the victim of the anti-doping hysteria. I also want to repeat: I have never taken any performance-enhancing drugs and I never will," Warne had said. 


Lehmann banned

In 2003, Darren Lehmann was banned for making racist comments against the Sri Lankan team. The incident happened when he was run out in a one-day match of the VB triangular Series in Adelaide. Furiously he went back to the Australian dressing room and was heard saying "C***s, c***s, f***ing black c***s" in the direction of Sri Lankan reserve players. 

He later apologised to the Sri Lankans for the incident but was banned for five matches. 


Ricky Ponting with a black eye

Another embarrassment for Australian cricket was brought by none other than, Ricky Ponting, who is deemed as one of the best skippers in Australian cricket history. 

In 1999, he once appeared in the press conference with a black eye after he had been dropped from the one-day team. It had been reported that Ponting was knocked unconscious in a nightclub fight in Sydney. 

He later admitted the problem with alcohol and also promised that he would seek counselling. "I'm very, very embarrassed about this whole situation and it's certainly something I'm going to work very hard on to make sure it doesn't happen again. On occasions I've drunk too much and got myself into situations I don't intend to be in, but I've ended up in them,'' Ponting had said. 


McGrath-Sarwan ugly fight

Australian pacer Glenn McGrath and West Indian batter Ramnaresh Sarwan were engaged in an ugly on-field argument during a Test match in Antigua. 

It was reported that Sarwan made remarks about McGrath's sick wife, the late Jane McGrath. While replying to the Aussie pacer's banter, Sarwan responded, that made McGrath angry. 

Pointing fingers at Sarwan, McGrath said, "If you f**king mention my wife again, I’ll f**king rip your f**king throat out."


Curtly Ambrose-Steve Waugh fight

Another scandal in Australian cricket was between Steve Waugh and West Indies great Curtly Ambrose as both of them were engaged in an infamous confrontation during a Test match in 1995 at Port of Spain. 

Curtly Ambrose later detailed that what sparked his rage autobiography entitled 'Curtly Ambrose – Time to Talk'. He wrote, "I approached Steve Waugh and asked him if he’d sworn at me. That’s when he snapped back, ‘I can say what I want to say’, which was as good as admitting he’d sworn at me."

"That was when I ripped into him and let him have it: ‘Man, don’t you effing swear at me again.’ And I don’t swear a lot so for me to use expletives it was clear that my anger was at boiling point."

"I lost it. If he had said nothing to what I had asked him, or even told me he didn’t swear, it would have ended right there, but when he came back at me again with all guns blazing, there was no holding back," he added. 


Underarm bowling, 1981

If you are an ardent cricket follower, then you must have heard or seen clips of this particular infamous incident. 

In 1981, then Australian captain Greg Chappell asked the bowler, who was his younger brother Trevor Chappell to bowl underarm to New Zealand batsman Brian McKechnie. 

He didn't want to give him a chance of hitting a match-drawing six during a one-day match at the Melbourne Cricket Ground. 

(Image credit: Wikicommons)


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