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5 cricketers whose 'bad boy' image kept them out of the team

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The world of cricket has been no stranger to ‘bad boys’ – those who may be good performers on the cricket field but end up being in the news for all the wrong reasons every now and then.While some of these cricketers went on to become legends, examples being Shane Warne and Ian Botham, there are a few who ended up losing their spot in their respective teams due to their image. And the worst part is that they went out of the team despite performing quite well.Today we focus on 5 bad boys of the cricketing world who paid the price for their controversies.

#5 Mohammad Amir (Pakistan)

The young Pakistani did not take too long to embrace the ‘bad boy’ tag

Possibly the only teenager in cricketing history to get sucked into controversy has been Pakistan’s left-arm seamer Mohammad Amir. The youngster was just 19 years old when he pleaded guilty in the spot-fixing controversy which went on to tarnish the image of his country’s cricket forever.

Just a few months before the events of the spot-fixing scandal unfolded, Amir was being seen as one of the best fast bowlers for the future in the cricketing world. At the age of 18, he claimed the record of being the youngest cricketer to get 50 wickets in Tests and all seemed to be motoring along pretty smoothly.

The scandal which virtually ended the careers of Amir’s other two associates Salman Butt and Mohammad Asif, who were banned for 10 years and 7 years respectively, the young bowler qualified for a 5-year ban from the game. All three guilty parties also spent 6 months in imprisonment at Southwark Crown Court.

Mohammad Amir recently returned to Pakistan’s domestic cricket structure after having completed the period of his ban, but the debate on whether he should be allowed to play for the Pakistan national team is sure to continue for some time now.

Career started - 4 June 2009, Test debut

Last international match - Test match vs England, 26-29 August 2010

#4 Jesse Ryder (New Zealand)

Jesse Ryder has been one of the most notorious bad boys of cricket

Jesse Ryder has been very quick in gaining the ‘bad boy’ reputation in world cricket. Ever since he was drafted into the New Zealand side in the year 2008, Ryder has frequently fallen into trouble for his activities off the field, mainly due to a serious drinking problem.


The first major incident in his career took place soon after an ODI series against England when he got involved in a drunken brawl at a bar and managed to hurt his hand. Ryder was found guilty of verbally abusing the staff of the hospital he had been taken to and was not only asked to apologize for his actions but also banned for three months.

In 2013, the bulky New Zealander hit another roadblock thanks to a career-threatening assault outside a Christchurch bar which lead to him going into a coma. He made a brief return to the international cricket areana post his recovery, but yet again he put himself into jeapordy for a late night drinking session.

This time though, Ryder had to suffer dire consequences as went on to be dropped from the national squad and has still not been considered for any future involvement with New Zealand cricket.

Career started - 5 February 2008, T20I debut

Last international match - ODI match vs India, 31 January 2014

#3 Herschelle Gibbs (South Africa)

Herschelle Gibbs had many a rendezvous with trouble in his career

You will not find a more flamboyant character in the cricketing world than former South African batsman Herschelle Gibbs. A player of prodigious talent, his career did not bloom as much as it should have in the wake of a string of controversies which earmarked his cricketing sojourn.

It all began when Gibbs opened up during the match-fixing inquiry by the King’s Commission on how he accepted a large sum of money from his tainted skipper Hansie Cronje to score less than 20 in an ODI, but did not comply by his side of the deal. This confession ensured he got away with a six-month ban from cricket. A few months later, during the 2001 South Africa tour of West Indies, Gibbs and some of his teammates were pulled up for smoking marijuana and handed fines.

Other controversial incidents from the former Proteas batsman’s career include spending a night in prison for drunken driving, making racist remarks at other cricketers and breaking a team curfew. Although no incident in particular triggered his ouster from the South African team, it was a combination of mixed performances and discilpine issues which ensured that he went out of favour.

Career started - 3 October 1996, ODI debut

Last international match - T20I match vs Pakistan, 10 May 2010

#2 Andrew Symonds (Australia)

Andrew Symonds and controversy have always gone hand-in-hand

There is no doubt about the fact that Andrew Symonds was among the most intimidating figures in Australian cricket. Just one of the great examples of his ability was his hard-hitting century in the 2003 World Cup game against Pakistan with his team in dire straits at 4 for 86.

However, his image of being the perennial ‘bad boy’ always became a hindrance in his path to great success. The turning point of his career’s downfall came in the 2008 Border-Gavaskar Trophy in the form of the ‘Monkeygate’ scandal which occured during the controversial 2nd Test at Sydney. While Symonds’ allegations of racist slur helped fetch Harbhajan Singh a 3-match ban, the Indian team appealed successfully and had the decision overturned.

The big Aussie’s career was never the same as he got embroiled in many more controversies post that including drunken brawls, abusing other cricketers on radio and missing team meetings to satisfy his fishing hobby. The end arrived for Symonds just a couple of days before the start of the 2009 World Twenty20 when he was found guilty of visiting a bar without the management’s consent.

Although it was not as major an offence as some of Symonds’ previous issues, Cricket Australia decided to withdraw his central contract prompting him to announce his retirement on his return to Australia.

Career started - 10 November 1998, ODI debut

Last international match - T20I match vs Pakistan, 7 May 2009

#1 Kevin Pietersen (England)

Pietersen’s multiple controversies eventually cost him his place in the England team

Controversy’s favourite child, Kevin Pietersen, is one of the biggest so-called bad boys that cricket has ever seen. True, he is among England’s best batsmen of all time, but his penchant for inviting trouble from time to time is what spelt his doom.

Pietersen had contorversies galore during his otherwise successful career, some of the premier ones being his sledging tactics against Graeme Smith during a Test series in 2006 and his issues in working with former England coach Peter Moores. The social media site Twitter was also one of his favourite breeding grounds for controversy as he faced stiff measures from the England Cricket Board for tweets about former English southpaw Nick Knight’s commentary and about his being axed from the ODI team in 2010. 

The breaking point for Kevin Pietersen came soon after the 2013-14 Ashes series, where Australia whitewashed England 5-0. Despite being the highest run-getter for England in the series, his fallout with coach Andy Flower showed him in poor light in the eyes of the ECB. While the Zimbabwean decided to call it quits soon after the series, the board took a stand to ensure that they released all their ties with Pietersen too on 4 February 2014.

Career started - 28 November 2004, ODI debut

Last international match - 5th Test of 2013-14 Ashes Series, 3-5 January 2014

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