Three players were caught engaging in under the table deals. The result? Three players vanquished from international cricket for an extended period of time. Is it a tragedy? Perhaps. Is it clear cut? Black and white? Apples and Oranges? Most definitely not.
The damning sentence handed down by the ICC this weekend to Mohammad Amir, Salman Butt and Mohammad Asif is a double edged sword to world cricket. Not only do these bans crush the careers of three talented Pakistani cricketers, one of which is only a teenager, it also casts a further bleak outlook on Pakistan cricket and perhaps even on world cricket as a collective unit. If it were not for some old fashioned investigative journalism then the three amigos would have quietly collected their pay check and continued with their days work. This hardly paints the ICC in a positive light. They do act as the sole and supreme governing body for our wonderful game of international cricket, right?.. They are meant to block match fixing from our traditional game? Mmm…
While here in Australia and in England, players enjoy healthy contracts, stable living conditions and heavy endorsements, Pakistan players enjoy a corrupt, fickle and inept cricket board. Oh, and also disastrous living conditions. A bit of a contrast ay?
Yes, we all must accept the consequences of our own actions. Yet, in this case, a young and potentially elite world class bowler Mohammad Amir is the victim of the failed system. An impressionable teenager needs a reliable mentor. Who has it been? Ijaz Butt? Hope not. At some point, Amir has been led to an appealing idea of quick money for little effort. Just bowl a no-ball. Can I get in on this?.. Only kidding. Yet, this is the tragic point. Why should I or any other Australian just heartlessly dismiss the young Amir and say, “it serves him right”. As cliche as it might sound, I like to think I know right from wrong. Yet, it is vastly easier to know right from wrong when you know little of desperation. However, I do not intend to portray young Amir as a divine Saint. But I do intend to portray how inept and volatile the game of cricket is over in Pakistan.
Pakistani cricket is in a near definite path of total destruction. They cannot host any international cricket matches. The IPL are reluctant to allow Pakistani cricketers to participate in their lucrative competition. And finally, three fine Pakistan players (one of which was the captain of Pakistan) will not be seen for quiet some time. What was left of their international reputation is now gone.
The Ashes hero of 2005 and 2009, Andrew Flintoff, once said, “I enjoy hitting the ball and trying to bowl fast, and that is what I do”. Flintoff’s simple words reveal a stunning contrast between an Englishman and a Pakistani. One fellow must only worry about knocking off a batsman’s head and hitting bowlers back over their heads. While the other poor fellow must wonder if his country will still have a Test side the following year.
There was a time when things seemed more simple.