Some more bad boys

In January we featured an XI of players who had been barred from the game. Now, in the light of the five-year ban slapped on Shoaib Akhtar by the Pakistan board, here are some more who have been sent to the dog house

Martin Williamson

April 10, 2008

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Read the first bad boys XI here

Ian Botham Cannabis


Ian Botham: the original bad boy © Getty Images
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By the mid 1980s Botham was as much the property of the tabloids as David Beckham is today, only he often gifted the high-octane fuel for their stories. In May 1986 he admitted to the Mail on Sunday that he had smoked cannabis, weeks after returning from a Caribbean tour remembered more for off-the-field headlines than anything on it. The irony was that the one-off article was part of an agreement resulting from legal action Botham had taken against the newspaper. The establishment spluttered, held a seven-hour hearing and then suspended him for two months - some of the England board has been demanding a life ban. Botham went out that night on a bender. "I don't think I have ever been quite so drunk in my life," he admitted ... and that's saying something.

Herschelle Gibbs Match-fixing
Of all the players caught up in the match-fixing scandals of the late 1990s, Gibbs is perhaps the most hapless case in that while he was offered US$15,000 by Hansie Cronje to get out for less than 20 in an ODI against India, he then clean forgot and "set off like a steam train". His memory was only jogged when joined in the middle by Cronje. "I already had 30 or 40 and I asked him what we should do," he said. "After a few overs I asked him again, and he said one of us would have to get out." Cronje was the man but Gibbs followed soon after for a 53-ball 74. A six-month ban for Gibbs resulted.

Edward Pooley Gambling
In 1877 Pooley missed cricket's first Test in Melbourne after being thrown into prison after taking a wager on one of the MCC's tour matches in New Zealand. Few in Surrey were surprised to hear the news. In June 1873 he had been banned by the county for the remainder of the summer after being found guilty of "selling a match" against Yorkshire at Sheffield. Pooley's defence was that the betting had been minor. "I took one bet of five shillings to half a crown (2-1) that five Yorkshire player did not get 70 runs," he reasoned. He won the bet but downed a large quantity of champagne and added to his problems by being rude to players and officials. Even the usually bland Wisden splutteringly referred to an "appalling occurrence". In his exile he earned good money playing minor cricket.

Cricket Uncivilised
Not a player or a county but the whole game itself. In 1536 Henry VIII ordered that the youth should practise archery instead of "frivolous" activities "such as cricket-a-wicket". History over the next two centuries is littered with instances of people being severely punished for playing on Sundays. In 1656 the Puritans banned the game completely in Ireland, a far from devastating act given that there is no evidence any cricket was played there at the time.


Herschelle Gibbs claims he forgot he had agreed to fall for under 20 runs © Getty Images
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Duncan Spencer Drugs
Spencer was a decent quick bowler whose career was blighted by injury, but in 2000-01 he made a successful comeback for Western Australia only to fail a drugs test for nandrolone and be slapped with a career-ending 18-month ban. He admitted he had had injections earlier in the year to treat a chronic back problem never expecting to play again but had failed to disclose it to the authorities when returning to first-team action. His career was not finished. In 2006 he played twice for Sussex and also helped Buckinghamshire to the Minor Counties Championship final.

William Lambert Match-fixing
The earliest instance of someone being kicked out of cricket. Lambert was one of the foremost players of his generation and in June 1817 become the first batsman to score a double hundred, a feat not repeated for 76 years. But less than a month later his career as a professional was over when he was banned from playing at Lord's - and in effect from all major cricket - after being accused of "not trying" in a major game. It might have owed a lot to a feud with Lord Frederick Beauclerk, a pillar of the establishment but an utter rotter, who instigated the action. Lambert was probably guilty as charged, but so were almost all the other players in the game as the majority both sides had, unbeknown to each other, been paid to throw the match!

Eton Unruly behaviour
Although the annual Eton-Harrow match is believed to be the oldest continuous sporting encounter in the world, Eton's annual match with Winchester predates even that. In 1796 Dr Keate, Eton's headmaster, banned the school from playing the fixture after several years of riotous behaviour associated with it which included violence and vandalism. The boys ignored Keate and played anyway. When they returned to the college they were all flogged. In 1821 Keate's successor tried to ban the Harrow match, again unsuccessfully. In 1825 Eton, Harrow and Winchester met at Lord's in a tri-series. Unsurprisingly, it all ended in tears with the pavilion being burnt down and all the game's earliest records being lost.

Ian Meckiff Throwing
The ban was self-imposed, but Australian fast bowler Meckiff was backed into a corner by the authorities who decided that he was a chucker and action needed to be taken. In the late 1950s and early 1960s the spectre of throwing haunted the game, and Meckiff was one of the most obvious examples. Playing in the first Test of the 1963-64 home series against South Africa - Richie Benaud's farewell as captain - Meckiff was no-balled for throwing on the second, third and ninth deliveries of his opening over. He was withdrawn from the attack and did not bowl again. He retired from all forms of cricket at the end of the game. "It was an awful day", Benaud later wrote.

David Lovell Tantrums
In 2001 Lovell, an Australian who played second XI cricket for three counties as well as representing Wales, averaged 199.60 in club cricket, but late in the season he found himself embroiled in a row which ended with him receiving an 18-week ban. Lovell abused an umpire in a league match, and while he admitted the charges, he disputed the punishment, accusing the Pembrokeshire County Cricket Club of holding an unfair hearing. The case got as far as the county court where Lovell claimed his success had caused "resentment rather than admiration". He lost and had to pay several thousand pounds worth of costs ... and on the same day was made redundant.


What an uncouth and frivolous game! © Getty Images
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Ed Giddins Repeat offender
Former public schoolboy Giddins was first banned in 1996 for 18 months and sacked by Sussex after traces of cocaine were found in a random drugs test. He returned to play four Tests for England, but months after retiring at the end of 2003 he was banned for a further five years after it was revealed he had placed a £7000 bet on his county - Surrey - to lose a one-day match, which they did after fielding a weakened side. Giddins pleaded not guilty to the charge but did not dispute any of the facts.

John Emburey Rebel x 2
Emburey was just starting on his England career when he signed to tour South Africa with a rebel England side in 1982 and was slapped with a three-year ban. "'I'd have thought twice about going if I'd known the ban would last three years - that stunned all of us." But, when another offer came in 1989, Emburey once more accepted, the only man to go on both of England's apartheid-busting trips. "In hindsight it was a mistake. But at the time my decision was purely monetary. I'd lost my benefit money in a building society in Australia." In between the bans he played 64 Tests, but his rebel-minded streak came to the fore again when he became the first English coach to sign for the Indian Cricket League. "I'm looking at pensions and whatever and all the things that you don't want to think about when you are playing," he explained.

Read the first bad boys XI here

Martin Williamson is executive editor of Cricinfo

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Martin Williamson Executive editor Martin Williamson joined the Wisden website in its planning stages in 2001 after failing to make his millions in the internet boom when managing editor of Sportal. Before that he was in charge of Sky Sports Online and helped launch and run Sky News Online. With a preference for all things old (except his wife and children), he has recently confounded colleagues by displaying an uncharacteristic fondness for Twenty20 cricket. His enthusiasm for the game is sadly not matched by his ability, but he remains convinced that he might be a late developer and perseveres in the hope of an England call-up with his middle-order batting and non-spinning offbreaks. He is now managing editor of ESPN EMEA Digital Group as well as his Cricinfo responsibilities.

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