Euro 2020 Special

A Look at Players Who Were Banned From Cricket for Unusual Reasons

Although all players are expected to abide by the rules and regulations of cricket, there have been occasions when some have found themselves banned for reasons that have not always been about sporting integrity.

Here are some examples of strange bans handed out to players.


Kapil Dev: playing too aggressively

Kapil Dev is a legend of Indian cricket, the man who led the country to their first World Cup success in 2003, when they stunned the West Indies at Lord’s.

Between October 1978 when he made his debut against Pakistan and March 1994 when he appeared against New Zealand, he made 131 test appearances for his country. And, in that period, he only missed one game because he was banned by the Indian selector.

His crime – playing too aggressively in a test match against England. With his side struggling in their second innings, he walked out to bat with the expectation that he would bat sensibly and help eke out the score.

Instead, he decided to attack the bowling. Edged the second ball he faced for a streaky four and then tried a big shot off the next ball and was out. The Indian management were not amused and gave him a one match ban.


Geoff Boycott: scoring too slowly

England opener Geoff Boycott had a reputation for his single-minded attitude to batting and his determination not to get out, sometimes to the detriment of the team.

Known as an accumulator of runs, he took this to extremes in the First test against Indian in 1967. He batted the entirety of the first day and was 106 not out at stumps before slightly picking up the pace on Day two by adding 140 more.

At 246 not out, England declared their innings at 550/4. But although England went on to win the match, Boycott’s performance attracted heavy criticism. He was not asked to bat in the second innings and was dropped from the side for the Second Test with sections of the media labelling his performance as selfish.

Never one to let bygones by bygones, Boycott often referred to the incident during his later career as a commentator.


Shahid Afridi: biting the ball

Former Pakistan all-rounder Shahid Afridi was known for his aggression on the field and willingness to play mind games with the opposition. That meant that he often walked the line, and sometimes strayed over it, as was the case during a T20I match with Australia when he was spotted biting the ball.

The ICC took a dim view of this because it is illegal to try and change the shape of the ball through illegal means and he was handed a two-match T20I ban. Afridi later held his hand up and acknowledged that he had made a mistake.


Shoaib Akhtar: hitting colleague with a bat

Afridi found himself front and centre of another controversy during the inaugural T20I World Cup in South Africa in 2007. A heated row broke out in the Pakistan dressing room and Afridi began to hurl accusations at team-mate Shoaib Akhtar who was holding a bat at the time.

An infuriated Akhtar ran towards Afridi and tried to strike him with the bat, but he only succeeded in striking colleague Mohammad Asif in the process in the thighs.

Akhtar was immediately sent home and missed the rest of the World Cup.


Andrew Symonds: goes fishing

When former Australian all-rounder Andrew Symonds died in a car crash earlier this year, cricket lost one of its most famous characters.

Symonds was one of the hardest hitters of a cricket ball the game has seen. He was a highly-talented all-rounder but one who often attracted headlines for the wrong reasons, most notably when he missed an Australian team meeting and went fishing instead.

He was immediately sent home and banned, although he was later rehabilitated into the international set-up.


Ravindra Jadeja: throwing the ball at an opponent

Ravindra Jadeja will expect to have a major part to play for India in the T20I World Cup later this year, but he has not always been a model of good behaviour.

In a match against Sri Lanka in 2017, he had just completed an over when he attempted to throw the ball back to the wicketkeeper.

However, it went dangerously close to Sri Lankan batter Dimuth Karunaratne, who fortunately ducked out of the way in time.  Nevertheless, it was ruled that Jadeja had acted dangerously and he was handed three demerit points on his licence.

As he already had demerit points for running on the pitch in a match against New Zealand, the accumulated tally was enough to earn him a one-match ban.




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