The Gentlemen’s Game: The Moments That Shook Cricket

7 Crazy Moments in Cricket History



Cricket is quite a relaxing sport to watch, and boy does it get exciting. While cricket is pegged as a gentlemen’s game, there have been less than stellar incidents involving some truly shocking moments. But more on that in a bit. Cricket is not a sport where we picture crazy sports fans unless you are into chilling in the sun (cricket is a summer sport) and wearing obscene amounts of sunscreen. Nevertheless, cricket is highly entertaining and equally as competitive as many other popular sports. To unpack the sport some more, we looked at some of the craziest moments ever experienced in the game. 

Match-fixing: Hansie Cronje

Arguably the most beloved South African cricketer the African nation has ever seen, and it all came tumbling down in the year 2000 – to this day publications all over the world still share the story. Hansie was charismatic, he knew how to wow a crowd both on and off the pitch. Many children in SA saw him as their hero and he was! When the match-fixing scandal broke, many fans at once stopped supporting the legend. Here is what went down. 

The Proteas (South Africa’s national cricket team) were up against England in a test match. Hansie then approached a bookmaker who then crooked the books for South Africa to win, and they did. What followed ended the positive, innocent persona Hansie had created for himself. After a lengthy court case, Hansie was banned from the sport for life. Hansie worked tirelessly to redeem himself but sadly passed away only two years after the scandal. However, an even more shocking story follows. 

Caught cheating on tape: Cameron Bancroft

This time we see Australia in a truly crazy, yet shocking moment. It was 2018, and the Australians were up against South Africa. During the third day of the third test between the two sides, Australia’s Cameron Bancroft was live on TV and was shown rubbing the cricket ball with a small yellow object. But it doesn’t end here. Cameron realized he was being filmed and then went ahead to put the yellow object inside his pants. But it was a little too late as the umpires quite literally caught him in the act of cheating. However, under Law 41.3 of the Laws of Cricket, the umpires had the following decision to make.

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After approaching Cameron, he showed the umpires the object. The umpires then had a look at the ball and made the following decision. South Africa was not offered a replacement ball, and the Proteas were not awarded the 5 penalty runs. In an interview, Australia’s captain, Steve Smith, as well as Cameron admitted to ball-tampering. An investigation followed and Smith, Bancroft, as well as vice-captain David Warner, each received what many called a mild reprimand. Bancroft still plays cricket and earlier this year managed his first century in 3 years. 


Cricket Stadium. PC: Unsplash
Cricket Stadium. PC: Unsplash

Frustration at the stumps: The Black Caps vs. West Indies 

This was a match packed with tension. Taking place in Dunedin, New Zealand was up against the West Indies. While the game ended with a draw, what went down between the two sides on the pitch was a little more frustrating. There was a massive uproar from the West Indies bowlers, including Michael Holding at the time. The bowlers had several issues with the umpires. The team was citing several issues of favoritism that were not being addressed and felt that this severely affected the game to help the Black Caps. Things did get a bit heated when Holding kicked the stumps, and later captain Colin Craft got into a spat with an umpire.  

The respected umpire: Steve Bucknor

It’s a rare occurrence when an umpire is removed from a game, it’s not something you see happen often in cricket, but it did in 2008. But more on that in a bit. Steve Bucknor is a former Jamaican cricket umpire who umpired a whopping 128 test matches during his professional tenure from 1989 to 2009. He was excellent on the pitch and lauded for his accuracy. In 2007, he was shortlisted for the Umpire of the Year award which ultimately went to Simon Taufel. Fast-forward to India’s tour of Australia in 2008. India did not have any of Bucknor’s decisions. India’s cricket board requested Bucknor be removed from the third test in Perth which was a shock since Bucknor was highly respected in the cricket fraternity. He ultimately retired in 2009.  

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No wooden bats: Dennis Lillee

Australia’s Dennis Lillee was known for his argumentative spirit on the pitch. In 1979 when he played against England, it was no different. In a truly bizarre moment, Lillee set out to play the game with an aluminum bat. At the time cricket rules did not say you needed to use a wooden bat, so Lillee took this loophole to heart. After 10 minutes of back and forth, he eventually opted for a wooden bat. 

2005 Ashes test: Ricky Ponting

Ricky Ponting is an Australian national legend, but his status dropped slightly when the Southern Hemisphere team faced England in an Ashes Test. Captain at the time, Ponting was run out by an English substitute, Gary Pratt which resulted in all-out frustration. Ponting allowed his frustration to spill over and even confronted the English coach at the time, Duncan Fletcher. Yikes! 

Spot-fixing: IPL

The Indian Premier League is one of the most exciting cricket tournaments in the world. Cricket players from all over the world play in this adrenaline-inducing tournament. But sometimes the IPL gets caught in unwanted attention traps. In 2012, India TV aired a sting operation that showed spot-fixing and betting by IPL players – this led to 5 players getting banned. The following year, another scandal rocked the boat. Three players from the Rajasthan Royals were arrested for spot-fixing.

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