We take you through 13 sex scandals which tarnished the image of the cricketers involved as well as the gentlemen’s game.
We live in an age where cricket has virtually become a religion and cricketers demigods. Such is the popularity they enjoy that we tend to forget that cricketers too are humans and have another side to their personality, which at times is dark. To err is human, and cricketers are no different. Time and again they have made mistakes which have dented their personal as well as professional lives. While some have got involved in ball tempering, match-fixing and other on-field scandals, some others have got embroiled in off-field scandals, which are less heard of. Chinmay Jawalekar takes you through 13 sex scandals which tarnished the image of the cricketers involved as well as the gentlemen’s game.
1. Shane Warne: The king of spin Warne has also proved to be the king of such scandals over the years. From harassing British nurse Donna Wright, to getting naughty with two 25-year-old models ahead of Hampshire’s English County championship match against Middlesex in 2006, to having fun with a Melbourne stripper, to having extra marital affairs, to kissing his then girlfriend Elizabeth Hurley openly in the stadium during 2011 Indian Premier League (IPL) match, Warne has made news time and again. This firsthand account by one of the girls involved in his 2006 sex episode says it all: “Shane blew our minds. He was so fit. I’d give him top marks for more than satisfying us”.
2. Chris Gayle: Gayle attracts attention, both on the field and off it. This charismatic personality, also known to be a party animal, cannot be kept out of any such list. The burly Jamaican was found “socialising” with three British women in his Sri Lankan hotel room during the ICC World T20 2012. A timely intervention by the West Indies team’s bodyguards, who called the police and handed over the women to them, saved the day for him. Only recently, Gayle gave a good account of his flirtatious nature when he asked Australian TV presenter Mel McLaughlin out during a live interview and later bragged about his “very, very big bat” during another interview with journalist Charlotte Edwardes of The Times Magazine.
Gayle also found himself amidst controversy off late when he asked a female interviewer if she was ever involved in threesome and during the World Cup in 2015, a lady staff accused him of flashing his genitals.
3. Ian Botham: One of the best all-rounders to ever play the game and one of the very few players to receive knighthood, Sir Ian Botham is not really that perfect a man outside the playing field. He cheated on his wife even as she believed he could never cheat on her. Botham had an affair with an Australian waitress. But it is the more scandalous affair with former Miss Barbados Lindy Field in the 1980s that finds a mention here. One particular incident from their steamy affair involved a broken bed.
4. Kevin Pietersen: This South African-born English cricketer has always been at loggerheads with the cricket establishment and has his fair share of dressing-room controversies as well. However, the other side of his personality came to the fore when his brief yet stormy relationship with Big Brother ‘beauty’ Vanessa Nimmo ended. Furious after Pietersen reportedly dumped her by an SMS, Nimmo lashed out at him publicly. “Kevin was desperate for sex and kept pestering me all day. I certainly wasn’t hit for six by his performance,” the lady had claimed after the heartbreak.
5. Shahid Afridi: Boom Boom Afridi enjoys massive popularity amongst his female fans across the globe. And on one occasion, it certainly got the better off him. Before leaving for a tournament in Singapore with the Pakistani team, Afridi – along with teammates Hasan Raza and Atiq-uz-Zaman – was caught in a Karachi hotel room with a group of young women. Even as the players claimed innocence and maintained that the ‘fans’ had come to take their autographs, the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) dropped the trio from the squad for ICC Champions Trophy that was held later the same year.
Afridi was young and received thrashings from his family as well. He took the blow hard on his chin and went on to become a role model to millions.
6. Herschelle Gibbs: If you follow cricket and know Herschelle Gibbs, you will not be surprise to find his name in this list. Such is his personality that he easily finds a mention every time we talk about the bad boys of cricket. His autobiography: To The Point, opened the can of worms by revealing dirty side of South African cricket besides giving numerous accounts of his own sex life. Describing one such instance ahead of World Cup 1999 group game against Australia, Gibbs wrote: “I just knew I was going to get a century. Perhaps the girl lying in bed beside me had inspired me. She worked at the hotel, where I had befriended her. I guess she was my lucky charm — she certainly was when it came to my batting. I just wish her powers had extended to my fielding and the bladdy dropped catch.”
Describing another one, he wrote: “Two beds, two cricketers and three women. One of them wasn’t all that keen, though; she just lay on the bed. Which was fine – there was enough for everyone. The other two girls, however, more than made a go of it.” He also revealed that during one of their warm-up games on the 1997-98 Australia tour, some team members noticed a pretty girl and asked her to join them that evening. They started drinking and she mentioned she was a stripper.
7. Mike Gatting: Former England captain and the recipient of Warne’s “ball of the century”, Mike Gatting too could not resist the temptation and as a result, finds himself on this list. The media accused Gatting of illicit involvement with a barmaid, Louise Shipman, in his hotel room during the first Test against West Indies at Trent Bridge. As it happened, Gatting denied the development but the English cricket authorities did not buy his version. They explained that he may be right, but he should not have had her up in his room in the first place. He was also known for his over eating food habits.
8. Mohammad Akram and Saqlain Mushtaq: A visit to the local strip club named ‘club 69’ in South Africa proved costly for Pakistani cricketers Mohammad Akram and Saqlain Mushtaq. Pakistan were touring South Africa in February 1998 when the incident happened. It was presented as the duo was ‘mugged’ outside their team hotel ‘Sandton’ and got hurt. But the rumours suggested that Akram and Mushtaq were, in fact, beaten up at the strip club.
9. Daryl Tuffey: New Zealand fast bowler Daryl Tuffey, who recently celebrated his 38th birthday, landed himself in this list on the back of an incident that took place in March 2005. Tuffey allegedly was filmed on a mobile phone by two English tourists when he was having sex with a 23-year-old Christchurch sales representative. This, however, cannot be substantiated as almost as soon as the news broke, the tourist duo went into hiding and the girl mentioned here claimed that she never met Tuffey.
10. Andre Nel: Former South African speedster Andre Nel too finds a mention here. He was allegedly in a clandestine relationship with blonde Latvian Jelena Kultiasova. The glitch here is that Nel never revealed to her that he was already married. She figured it out herself and in 2010, revealed her affair with Nel, claiming that she discovered the truth by searching for him online.
11. Asad Rauf: Pakistani umpire and then a part of ICC elite panel of umpires, Asad Raufhit the headlines when a 21-year-old Indian model Leena Kapoor claimed she was having an affair with him and that the umpire had “sexually exploited” her on the pretext of getting married. Numerous intimate pictures of the couple had even surfaced on social media, which Rauf claimed was his, but with a ‘fangirl’. “I am 56 and happily married with two kids, and at my age how can I promise marriage to anyone else?,” Rauf had quipped.
12. West Indies team: West Indies team came under “sex allegations’” fire when they crashed out of the 2005 VB Series Down Under with five ignominious defeats in six matches. Team’s sponsor Digicel blasted the players for having “more telephone numbers of women than runs”. A leaked document quoted Digicel representative Richard Nowell as saying that on the eve of the Windies’ match against Australia in Brisbane, he had heard numerous doors banging and female voices along the players’ hotel corridor well after 1am. “As a former professional cricketer and having toured with England on three occasions, I know men need to have fun while on tour,” Nowell had said. “But not at the expense of their performance. Even in Perth, the most crucial time of the tour, one player had flown in a girl from Adelaide.”
13. Sri Lankan team: One of the biggest sex scandals involving an entire team or to say, generations of teams, surfaced in 2005 and rocked Sri Lankan cricket. A Wisden Almanack report claimed that Sri Lankan police had raided a unique brothel in Temple Road, Mount Lavinia, which for the past 10 years had been serving only the professional cricketers. The racket was busted when a cop posing as a cricketer made a 500 rupees booking, before his colleagues took control and arrested eight girls (all in their 20s) and their 78-year-old ‘madam’.