Requiem for Pakistan Cricket
I don’t know where to begin from. It hurts when your beloved country features in all kinds of worst news. As if ministers’ fake degree scandal, perennial bombings, country’s worst ever aviation disaster and flooding, Sialkot lynching wasn’t enough to torment us emotionally and psychologically the serpent of match fixing in cricket raised its head again.
In Pakistan, cricket is predominately the most played and followed sport. The ordinary person tries to seek happiness in cricket, which is known as the gentleman’s game. Sadly, there is nothing gentle about our cricket anymore. The allegations of ball tampering, and match fixing aren’t new. The last time Pakistan faced such allegations on a grand level were after the lackluster performance of 1999 cricket world cup final. Australia had won that match by 8 wickets with 179 balls remaining. That defeat had opened the Pandora box of match fixing allegation and as a result many Pakistani cricketers were banned, some for life like Salim Malik.
In 2006, in a real bizarre move, Inzamam forfeited a Test match at Oval in protest of ball tempering accusation. Pakistan got away with the ball tempering charges but as a result of abandoning the match England was awarded victory.
Every criticism is accepted and there may be a logical reason for losing a game but there is nothing as bad as the allegation of rigging the match. First, it snatches away the spirit of sports. Matches are played for both intrinsic and extrinsic reward. Cricket is glamorous enough and a good cricketer makes fortune even with the money that he earns by legal means. As far as intrinsic reward is concern that is where the idea of competition lies. Matches are played to excel, to employ your art and to seek joy that one feels after a good performance. But it seems like everyone else the Pakistan cricketers too have adopted the short cut of making big bucks overnight.
In the recent sting operation carried out by an undercover reporter of News of the World, posing as front men for a Far East gambling cartels as many as four Pakistani players, Salman Butt, Mohammad Asif, Mohammad Aamer and Kamran Akmal are involved in match rigging. That expose reveals how the middleman named Mazhar Majeed accepted £150,000 to arrange for Pakistani bowlers (Aamer and Asif) to bawl no balls at certain time.
The middleman has been arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to defraud bookmarks. Pakistan team’s manager Yawar Saeed confirmed helping the Scotland Yard police with questioning of Pakistani players.
Irrespective of the result of ongoing Test match (which might be abandoned) the match fixing allegation is a huge stigma on the face of Pakistan cricket and if the charges are proven it will take long for Pakistan cricket to emerge from the ashes of this ignominy. One wonders how these young players can take such suicidal steps right under the noses of Pakistan team’s coach, manager and other officials. It is time to resort to strictest possible means to control such irregularities and if the said players are involved it would be appropriate to ban them for life.
Edited version on: The Express Tribune ~ A sport for gentlemen no more…