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Last Updated: Monday, 18 October, 2004, 15:39 GMT 16:39 UK
Cricket's bad boys
By Jamie Lillywhite

Many decades ago, a cricketer's integrity was seldom questioned, and his soul was always thought to be as pure white as his flannels.

But in recent years, just as brightly coloured clothing has become more apparent, some "colourful" characters and their activities have been brought to public attention.

The latest offender is England A cricketer Graham Wagg, the recipient of a lengthy ban for taking cocaine.

In the intensive world of modern cricket, leisure pursuits are not easy to conceal, and there have been several recent incidents of cricketers being in the news for events not connected with the game.

Legendary all-rounder Ian Botham, for instance, was never far from the news throughout his illustrious playing career.

But in 1986 the headlines centred more around his private life and he was banned for 12 months after being caught smoking cannabis.

Infamous former England spinner Phil Tufnell was never one to devote himself entirely to his slow left-arm spin.

Phil Tufnell
Tufnell was keener than most on the social aspects of the game

He was always dubbed a "bad tourist" by officials, disciplinarians such as Keith Fletcher, Mickey Stewart and Raymond Illingworth, but would have been high on the list of companions for those more interested in the social side of a tour.

For all the inferred comment regarding Tufnell's off-the-field interests, he was never convicted of wrong-doing while on England duty, cleared of allegations of dope smoking while in a Christchurch restaurant.

But his one black moment came in 1997 when he received a suspended ban for failing to provide a specimen for a random drug test after an England victory against Australia at The Oval.

While considerably less high profile than his former England colleague, seamer Ed Giddins has been more than a match for him in the misdemeanour stakes.

His promising career was abruptly halted in 1996 when he was banned for 18 months after testing positive for cocaine.

The man who once sold Christmas trees during the close season returned to represent England but injury resulted in his retirement in 2003 at the age of 32.

Stephen Fleming
Fleming faced questions of a different sort when caught with dope

Hopes of a smooth transition into coaching or cricketing administration were soon dented in May of this year when Giddins was found guilty of placing a 7,000 bet on a county fixture.

He was fined 5,000 and banned for five years from having involvement in ECB matches.

Exuberant Australian spinner Shane Warne was another to fall foul of a drug ban, only his was not a herbal substance but the diuretics hydrochlorothiazide and amiloride normally used to aid temporary weight loss.

There have been two notable incidents of team spirit being taken a shade excessively.

New Zealand cricket received the wrong sort of attention in 1994 when Stephen Fleming, Matthew Hart and Dion Nash were caught celebrating a victory with dope and were handed three-match suspensions.

In 2001 four members of the South African team and their physio, while touring the West Indies, were given a serious warning for an identical offence.

And now there is the case of young Wagg - banned from the game until January 2006.

Perhaps now there will be new element to Rod Marsh's Academy - batting, bowling, fielding and staying out of trouble.



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