The captain’s job is one of the numerous characteristics that distinguishes cricket from other sports. Unlike in football or other sports, a captain is the team’s true leader. He is the one who makes all the decisions. He is the one who makes all of the hardest decisions, and he leads the side by example via his game and character.
Cricket can be a wonderful leveler, exposing the finest players and captains, especially in these times when their performances are continuously scrutinized. Currently, a few countries are struggling to cope with constant pressure, a lack of quality players, and other external circumstances that are wreaking havoc on their games.
These countries’ captains are often chastised for their failure to put together consistent performances.
1. Wasim Akram
Wasim Akram, one of the finest fast bowlers to ever play the game, had his fair share of off-field issues. Wasim was the captain of the Pakistani squad on many occasions between 1994 and 1999, and each of his stints was tarnished by suspicions of match-fixing by his players, particularly Ata Ur Rahman and Aamir Sohail. During his leadership days, Akram was accused of purposely dropping out of the 1996 World Cup quarter-final against India and of regularly putting himself ahead of the other players by his fellow cricketers. After Pakistan’s devastating defeat in the 1999 World Cup final, fixing suspicions again resurfaced against Akram.
2. Hansie Cronje
It started during a South African visit of India in 2000 when Delhi Police overheard Hansie Cronje’s chat with a bookmaker. After validating the facts, the Delhi Police made their findings public, which Cronje and the United Cricket Board of South Africa dismissed with scorn. Following Hansie’s confession, all hell broke loose. Cronje confessed his passion for a leather jacket and hard cash in front of a Kings’ Commission set up by the South African cricket body. Cronje was given a life sentence, but it was cut short when he died in a terrible plane crash in June 2002.
3. Shakib Al Hasan
During the 2019 World Cup, Shakib Al Hasan was at the top of his game. The left-handed Bangladeshi all-rounder was one of three players in the event to score more than 600 runs. But it all came crashing down in October of last year when the ICC announced that Shakib, the then Bangladesh captain, had been given a two-year (one-year suspended) ban for failing to report the bookmakers’ match-fixing approach during the 2018 tri-nation series between Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, and Zimbabwe, as well as during the 2018 IPL match between Sunrisers Hyderabad and Kings XI Punjab.
4. Salman Butt
This event occurred during the 2010 Lord’s Test between Pakistan and England, when Mohammad Amir overstepped by a mile, raising eyebrows. However, the next day, undercover operatives from the English news outlet ‘News of the World’ published a videotape showing bookie Mazher Majeed taking money and advising reporters that Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Amir will bowl no-balls at a certain point during the Test match. The ICC banned Salman Butt, the brilliant left-handed opener and then-captain of the Pakistan Test squad, as well as two of the country’s most gifted fast bowlers, Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Amir, for terms ranging from five to ten years.
5. Steven Smith
Everything came crumbling down for the then-Australian captain during the third Test of the subsequent tour of South Africa when opener Cameron Bancroft was seen by the host broadcaster taking yellow sandpaper from his pocket. After the conclusion of the day’s play, Steven Smith was queried about it in the press conference, and the Australian captain revealed that he, vice-captain David Warner, and rookie opener Cameron Bancroft had devised a plan to sandpaper the ball for reverse-swing. Cricket Australia has imposed a one-year and nine-month penalty on Smith, Warner, and Bancroft. Smith was also barred from holding a leadership position for two years, while Warner was barred for life.