It's rarely good when cricketers make news for reasons other than cricketing ones. No matter how bitter a pill it is to swallow, the fact is that the game has lost a lot of talented players to corruption. Especially in the last couple of years, some exceptionally talented players have fallen to the lure of easy money. With Lou Vincent becoming the latest victim of corruption practices in cricket, we look at some talented cricketers whose careers have been finished as they couldn't resist the devil in the sport.
Lou Vincent: The talented cricketer from New Zealand has admitted that he couldn't say no to easy money. If you really want to sympathise with him irrationally, you can argue that there is hardly any money in Kiwi cricket, and hence the offer could have been more enticing for Vincent. There is also the case of Mathew Sinclair, who had to sign up for retirement benefits so that he can look after his family. Even with all that put together, one cannot justify Vincent's actions. A sportsman is expected to bring glory not shame to his country.
Mohammad Ashraful: The talented batsman from Bangladesh admitted that he has let his country down, and he really did. As it is, Bangladesh produce very few sporting heroes. Over the last decade, Ashraful was seen as Bangladesh's big hope, the man who could put them on the world map as far as cricket is concerned -- just like Andy Flower did for Zimbabwe, and the O'Brien brothers for Ireland. Ashraful had all the attributes of a great batsman. He also played a couple of great knocks to prove his point. But, mostly, he was an utter disappointment. Ashraful seemed to care least about his talent and the team, which is why he might not have found it difficult to get involved in fixing.
S. Sreesanth: The speedster from Kerala was constantly in and out of the side, but there was no denying the fact that on his day, he could topple the best. South Africa discovered that back in 2006 at Johannesburg, when they had no answer to Sreesanth's seaming deliveries. South Africa recovered to win the series, but Sreesanth continued to maintain an edge over the South Africans. Sadly, he couldn't replicate his performance against other top sides. Few Indian bowlers have had as impeccable a wrist position as Sreesanth. Considering the vacuum in the Indian line-up at present, he might well have been leading the Indian attack in England. But, responsibility is not something that was associated with Sreesanth during his stint with the Indian team. Not surprising then that he fell by the wayside, and is now trying his luck in his second love --dance.
Mohammad Asif: Of the three bowlers who were banned following the Oval fiasco, Mohammad Amir may have been the youngest, but Asif was the most seasoned. Salman Butt, the skipper for the series, was talented, but his focus seemed only on performing against India. Asif on the other hand had proved himself against the big sides. His entire international career though was a recipe for disaster during the course of which he was banned for ball tampering, and taking unwanted substances. Further, he also picked up fights with teammates. Spot-fixing wouldn't have been all that tough for him then.
--By A Cricket Analyst