Showing posts tagged spot fixing

Spot fixing: the ICC shows it’s claws

[Asif and Butt] will have to make full confession and show appropriate remorse for their suspended sentences to be waived

The Telegraph newspaper is reporting that Salman Butt and Mohammad Asif will have to confess that they took part in the spot fixing scandal if the suspended parts of their sentences are to be commuted. This is quite significant not only does it make the sentences significantly more harsh than first thought it will keep the story in the news as a reminder that this type of behaviour is not acceptable. The ICC still have a lot to do if they are to stop this from happening again.


Cricketing Justice is Dealt

Pakistan’s tour of England in summer 2010 started so promisingly a potent bowling attack to match any in the world, a lower order full of explosive batting, and a dynamic young captain in Salman Butt who seemed to have not only the usual Pakistani flaw but intellectual confidence. Throughout the test series Amir and Asif posed a real threat to the English batting lineup at times giving Pakistan the edge. While brittle batting meant let down the Pakistani team on the pitch it was the greed and naivety of Salman Butt, Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Amir that would let down not only their team mates but fans of cricket worldwide and bring the game into disrepute. 

The revelations from the News of the World that Amir and Asif had bowled deliberate no balls under direction of their captain and a suitcase full of money rocked world cricket. Every game Pakistan had played was now under suspicion, even events involving other teams were now in question. The bans of five years each with two additional years suspended for Asif and five additional years suspended for Butt are unprecedented and send a clear signal to any other would be corrupt individuals that they will not profit by bringing the game into disrepute.

The involvement of Amir was a particularly bitter pill he has huge talent his fast left arm had tormented the English batting line-up throughout the series and at such a young age had a future full of glory, beauty, and riches. Amir’s part in this scandal is a real sporting tradegy with cricket denied the full fruits of a rare talent; the senior players, the coaching staff and the administrators must hang their heads in shame for letting Amir get drawn in to such a dirty world. As a cricket fan I hope that we see Amir again he still has a lot to give in terms of cricketing entertainment, but the ICC, the PCB and the rest of world cricket must learn from this loss.

We must now see genuine efforts from the ICC to rid the game of corruption and murk. Draconian sentences are not enough there must be education and protection for young players. A firm hand is needed from administrators, coaches and senior players at all levels, the message must be clear that corruption will not be tolerated. The riches of the IPL must be open to all nationalities, the gloomy politics between India and Pakistan and conservative franchises are as much to blame for the temptation of corruption as any administrators in cricket.

Pakistan Pack up

Pakistan have been the most frustrating tourists this summer, at times their cricket can be brilliant and an inspiration to cricket fans everywhere. Unfortunately Pakistan at times played dreadfully, worse they were stupid and naive in their off field dealings. The accusations of cheating levelled at the Pakistani team and their astonishing counter attack against not the media but the England players poisoned the tour. 

The effect on both teams was noticeable, Pakistan were clearly shaken after the accusations of spot fixing at Lords. The performances in the Pakistani Twenty20 fixtures was appalling, it was very disappointing for a team who won the World Cup just over a year a go couldn’t put up any defence at all. England took the momentum into the first two ODI but after Butt’s statement it was clear that England had lost their spirit in the fourth ODI.

For the final game England galvanised themselves, but this wasn’t just about proving themselves as cricketers. It was clear they wanted to punish the Pakistani players and management for a summer that has seen their characters questioned and put them in a position where they didn’t want to take to the field.

The relief was palatable and as a fan of cricket and the England team I was ecstatic that the team that really deserved the victory took it in such style. I’m glad to see the back of Pakistan, associated conspiracies and accusations, usually it is something of a shame that the international season in England is over but all I sense is relief.

I tried to watch the ODI between England and Pakistan,

I tried to marvel at a Abdul Razzaq’s superb assault on the English bowlers,

I tried to enjoy a heroic bowling display by Shoaib Akhtar,

I tried but I couldn’t, the soul of this contest has been lost and Ijaz Butt took it.

Butt of all the jokes

I’m no longer calm, Ijaz Butt (PCB Chairman) thinks England fixed the their recent ODI defeat to Pakistan at the Oval:

"There is loud and clear talk in bookie circles that some English players have taken enormous amounts of money to lose the match [the third ODI]. No wonder there was such a collapse."

This allegation appears to be entirely groundless; what exactly is Butt thinking? He not only puts into question the English team’s character, he questions the validity of Umar Gul’s stirring performance. It is one of the most provocative statements any cricket administrator could make about any team or player but a Pakistani administrator about an England team? It’s just unreal.