Corruption in cricket

Though betting on cricket was common in the 19th century, cricket's biggest match-fixing scandal was unearthed in 2000, when Hansie Cronje admitted he had accepted money to throw matches. Players from other countries were also implicated. Since then, even as cricket has gone about strengthening its anti-corruption mechanisms, instances of fixing have cropped up frequently. In 2010, three leading Pakistan players were banned and jailed on fixing charges. In 2013, three Indian players, among them Sreesanth, were arrested for spot-fixing in the IPL.

Feb 15, 2024: ICC bans UK-based club cricketer Rizwan Javed for 17-and-a-half years for corruption | Dec 4, 2023: ECB announces formation of independent Cricket Regulator

Cricket rules

Cricket has never stopped evolving: from round-arm bowling becoming the standard, to the 15-degree rule for arm flexion while bowling. From the number of balls per over to the specifications of equipment - ranging from glove-webbing to bat handles - almost every aspect of the game is regulated. New rules are frequently put in place - especially in the shorter forms of the game, as in the case of Powerplays, free hits, and the tweaking of field restrictions.

Jan 14, 2024: Why aren't we making a bigger deal of the slow pace of play in Test cricket? | Feb 16, 2024: Why England started their innings in Rajkot with five runs on the board

Racism

Despite cricket's multicultural history, the game has long been blighted by racism. Racial segregation denied late 19th century fast bowler Krom Hendricks a chance to play for South Africa. In the 1960s, the Basil D'Oliveira affair precipitated South Africa's 22-year sporting isolation for its apartheid policies. Tony Greig's infamous statement in 1976 about making West Indies "grovel" is well known, as is Dean Jones casual, off-mic "terrorist" remark aimed at Hashim Amla, and the Monkeygate scandal of 2008. More recently, the Black Lives Movement has forced a reckoning within the game, with boards committing to change as cricketers have spoken up about their continuing experiences with racism and marginalisation.

Jan 11, 2024: Colin Graves apologises to racism victims as Yorkshire set date for EGM | Jun 27, 2023: Miller: ICEC report exposes imperial legacy as cricket's biggest flaw

Pitches

Over the years the endeavour has been to take pitches out of the equation for ODIs and Twenty20s, by making them flat and uniform, so that the toss does not play a crucial part in the shorter format. In Tests, though, the preparation of the pitch and its durability are much more significant, impacting the result and duration of the game. Quite naturally pitches and their preparation in the longer forms of the game evoke a lot of comment and often controversy.

Jan 5, 2024: What is a bad pitch? | Feb 6, 2023: Shastri: 'I want the ball to turn from day one'

Ball-tampering

Players are barred, by Law 42.3, from rubbing the ball on the ground, interfering with its seam or surface, or using any implement that can alter the condition of the ball to thereby gain unfair advantage. There have been plenty of ugly incidents centring on accusations of ball-tampering through cricket's history: the John Lever "Vaseline" affair in 1976-77; the times England and New Zealand accused Pakistan of it in the early 1990s; Michael Atherton's admission that he used dirt to treat the ball against South Africa in 1994; and perhaps most infamously, the Oval Test of 2006 when Pakistan forfeited the match because they were accused of having tampered with the ball.

Nov 10, 2023: Henry Nicholls faces ball-tampering charges | Dec 8, 2022: Warner's manager claims Australia were 'told' to tamper with ball after Hobart loss in 2016-17

The future of ODIs

The growth of Twenty20 cricket has raised serious questions over the utility of the 50-over game, and concerns for its future. Though it is still the currency of the two main ICC tournaments, some boards have already shortened their domestic format. Suggestions for change have been plenty and even the ICC is thinking about tweaking the format.

Oct 30, 2023: Why middling scores make for the best kind of ODI | Dec 30, 2023: Cricket will go where the fans take it, and that's all right

Player contracts

As cricketers became more aware of their rights and the money they earned their boards, every team gradually moved to the contracts system, which would assure a player a certain amount of income for a year irrespective of an injury or an unforeseen drop in form. There has been a fair amount of controversy over the implementation of contract systems over the years: the ugliest it got was when several West Indies stars refused to play for their team because of a dispute over contracts. India, Zimbabwe and Kenya have had their share of contracts-related problems too.

Sep 22, 2023: ECB set to bring in multi-year contracts for England Men | Aug 9, 2022: NZC agrees to release Trent Boult from central contract

Technology in cricket

For a game as steeped in tradition as cricket is, the question of how much to rely on technology is a perennial - and at certain points over the years has proved an increasingly complex one, as new technologies have been unveiled. The Decision Review System, introduced in 2008, took about a decade to gain widespread acceptance - if not always trust and support across the board among players and administrators.

May 15, 2023: ICC scraps soft-signal rule for contentious catches | Jul 17, 2022: Captains should be suspended if their teams can't bowl 90 overs a day

Security concerns

The attack on cricketers and match officials in Lahore in March 2009 brought into tragic and dramatic focus a trend that began in Sri Lanka in 1987, when New Zealand abandoned their tour after a car bomb in Colombo killed 100 people. Nine years later, Australia and West Indies refused to play their World Cup games in Sri Lanka citing danger from the ongoing civil war. Subsequent series to be affected include New Zealand's tour of Pakistan in 2002, Australia and West Indies' tours of Pakistan the same year (eventually played at neutral venues), South Africa's tour of Sri Lanka in 2006, which was truncated halfway, England's of India in November 2008, when the ODI series was cut short by the attacks in Mumbai, and India's proposed tour of Pakistan in 2009.

Feb 18, 2023: Karachi terror attack won't impact PSL, says PCB chief Najam Sethi | Jul 29, 2022: Explosion in Kabul stadium injures four Shpageeza Cricket League spectators