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Friday, December 08, 2006

Former Test cricketer in trouble with the law

"Ex-cricketer MP jailed over rage killing" says a technically inaccurate headline in today's Australian.

As the report under the headline says, the Punjab and Haryana High Court has for the time being suspended the three year sentence on Navjot Singh Sidhu to allow him time to appeal. The offence occurred in 1988, so it's taken a long time for the judicial process to reach this point.

He's not the only Indian cricketer awaiting the outcome of a court case with a potential prison term at its end: a case
(also in the P & H jurisdiction) against Mansur Ali Khan Pataudi,aka the Nawab of Pataudi, aka "Tiger" is still pending, as this report from September 2006 states.

If Sidhu's appeal or Pataudi's case fail then they'll qualify for inclusion in the Cricinfo list of players who have been in trouble with the law , a list which has a few omissions, including at least one from my neighbourhood, Alexander Crooks, whom the Australian Dictionary of Biography online forthrightly describes as "bank manager, cricketer and embezzler".

There is also scope for a list of people who have narrowly escaped being in trouble with the law. Such a list would include W R Gilbert, a cousin of W G Grace, who was apparently caught stealing from players' belongings in a dressing room. In his obituary the 1925 Wisden stepped coyly around this black mark:

At the beginning of 1886 he became a professional, and the season was not far advanced before his career in first-class cricket ended abruptly. He then left England for Canada. He kept up the game in the Dominion and made hundreds in both Halifax and Montreal.

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