Cricketers across the globe are sporting icons for the countries that they represent, and are thus expected to be on their best behaviour at all times. Over the years though, there have been several examples of cricketers whose actions weren’t exactly gentleman-like. Ben Stokes and Alex Hales are the latest additions to the list of cricketers who have had trouble with the law. With the emergence of video evidence of Stokes punching a man, him and Hales have been suspended from playing cricket for England until further notice. Ben Stokes, who is at the peak of his international career has always been a bit of a flamboyant character but this incident could potentially affect his steadily growing career.
Back home in India, troubles began for S. Sreesanth, Ajit Chandila and Ankeet Chavan when the trio were arrested on allegations of spot fixing during matches in the Indian Premier League. They were handed life bans from playing any form of representative cricket by the BCCI, which were later lifted due to court orders. All three of them had promising careers which were cut short, with Sreesanth already having played Test cricket for India. Leg spinner Rahul Sharma too ran into trouble with the police and the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) when he was found having taken recreational drugs.
Three Pakistani international cricketers – Salman Butt, Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Amir were sentenced to prison after they were proven guilty of spot fixing during a Test match against England in 2010. A number of other Pakistani cricketers were also given bans after alleged match-fixing and spot-fixing charges during the Pakistan Super League including Sharjeel Khan, Khalid Lateef, Nasir Jamshed and Mohammad Irfan. Leg spinner Yasir Shah was handed a temporary ban after having failed a drug test.
Flamboyance, aggression and ‘being a different character’ are all factors that make some of the cricketers these days exciting to watch. That being said, some former cricketers such as Michael Vaughan believe that there should be a lifestyle change brought in by Ben Stokes in order to continue his international cricket career. It will be interesting to see if Stokes and Hales are considered for selection by the ECB in the near future.
With the list of cricketers involved in scuffles with the law, the sport has certainly moved away from the image of being a ‘gentleman’s game’. At the moment at least, it can certainly be said that this kind of behaviour ‘is just not cricket’.
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