Pakistan Cricket constantly finds itself from one problem to another. They have been dogged by all sorts of controversies from quite some time. Players being dropped, players retiring midway, ball tampering, terrorist attack and no nation wanting to tour them, captains being changed randomly, players being recalled and new captains appointed in middle of a tour , players who have retired are suddenly drafted back in the team and on cricket field the results ave gone from bad to worse. But now what has happened today is the absolute bottom.
At a time when Pakistan as a nation is facing one of the worst calamities of all time and millions of people are suffering and have nothing left in their lives, Cricket was their one little glimmer of hope. But after today even that flicker of hope is extinguished.
Pakistani cricketers including their current captain have been found to fix the ongoing match at Lords. There is video evidence to the fact and the bookie-agent has been arrested. Seven players have been named in the video shot by ‘News of the World’ report during his sting operation and the evidences are quite conclusive. And who are the players that have been named, it is Salman Butt their captain, Mohaamad Amir -the 19 year old bowling sensation, Mohaamad Asif the best Pakistani bowler around, wicketkeepr Kamran Akmal, young debutant Wahab Riaz and Umar Amin and one more.
The video shows the bookie Mazhar Majeed asking for upfront money from the reporter and assuring him that everything is ‘under control’. He gives him assurance by saying that the bowlers would ‘no balls’ at particular time in the match to prove that fixing was ‘on’. The bowlers Amir and Asif did exactly the same thing during the Lords test, they bowled really big no-balls, which nobody could have missed. Pakistan captain Salman Butt is seen socializing with this bookie.In the 2nd video young Pakistani players Wahab Riaz and Umar Amin are seen accepting money from the bookie. There is more evidence too, which has been handed over to Scotland Yard for further investigation.
Problem seems much more than merely what we have seen and heard and read. The players involved are 18-19-20 year old young players. They have hardly made their place in the Pakistan side and they are involved in match fixing or spot fixing as it is called. Perhaps the entire culture in Pakistan team is rotten to the core, that even newcomers are introduced to fixing this easily.
ICC and ECB have gone out of their way by allowing Pakistan to hold neutral tests in England, by hosting matches against Australia in England and MCC had even sponsored the series calling it ‘Spirit of Cricket’ series !! ICC even was thinking of organizing matches for ‘flood relief’ in Pakistan. Mohammad Amir had the whole world at his feet with his sensational bowling maturity and was being compared to the modern great Wasim Akram. Umar Amin was hailed as the future of Pakistan batting. How come cricketers like these get easily lured by money at such a young age? Thats is the question Pakistan cricket has to answer.
As a pasionate cricket lover I am thoroughly heartbroken at the turn of events. The ghost of match fixing I thought was buried with the last century and Cricket had emerged successfully out of it in last 10 years or so. But now with these fresh new evidences and charges one thing is clear that amongst some cricketers of the world, greed for money is somehow greater than the passion for the sport. Would we ever come out of this?
What we need now is strong leadership from ICC and firm action against the people who have been involved in such spot fixing. Time has come to set an example by punishing the guilty and give out a strong message to the upcoming cricketers around the world, that match fixing or spot fixing has no place in cricket.