As an English tabloid the News of the World (NOTW), revealed through a “STING” operation on Pakistan cricket team that atleast three players are involved in spot-fixing, on August 28th 2010, the whole cricketing world jolted by the effects of something that never happened before. We can call it match fixing, spot fixing, fancy betting or whatever, but one way or the other we all knew that it was there.
As a cricket lover and observer, it is not hard to accept the fact that we all used to deny that now cricket, which was once called a ‘Gentle-men’s game’,is not as clean, as it was used to be.
Though some ex-players raised their concerns about some matches at numerous times, but no one came with any substantial proof.
But finally NOTW came with something substantial and helped ICC to open their eyes and take these matters seriously.
I am a Pakistani and I can easily say here that “Oh no! another conspiracy against us”, but I will try to be neutral here and judge things on the basis what we can see till now.
First of all, it was absolutely no surprise that its Pakistan cricket team, who is once again involve in another scandal, but this time it is probably one of the biggest the game of cricket have ever witnessed.
For everyone who is following the Men in Green, it is not new that Pakistan cricket is a mix of two great extremes.
On one side, this team have produced some of the greatest talent this game have seen, but on the other, this team was some how found involved in nearly every big scandal in the sport of cricket.
It is the unpredictability of this team that left everyone amaze whenever this team took the field.
Be it the talent of left–arm magician with the name of Wasim Akram, or be it the classiest spinner like Abdul Qadir who invented “Googly”, or be it Saqlain Mushtaq who invented “Doosra”, or be it the fastest Bowlers of the world like Shoaib Akhtar and Waqar Younis, or be it one of the greatest all-rounder and captain of all time Imran Khan, this talent just purely world class.As a cricket crazy nation, we always take pride that we have been a great servant of the game, and there is nothing wrong in doing that.
However, with another scandal infront of us, it’s about time that we as a cricket loving nation accept the fact that we need get our house in order before it becomes all too late.
Coming back to the recent scandal, it is important to identify some important questions.
First of all, it is important to identify the role of the ICC, which is becoming doubtful as the time goes on.
If the highest cricketing governing body has video evidence from NOTW, then this case should be as good as dead, right then and there.
By dead, the only point I am trying to make here is that no one can give enough justification if the video is proved to be recorded before the match.
On the other hand, if their video is not proved to be genuine, then ICC might find themselves in the hot waters.
But knowing that ICC is a professional organisation, it is hard to assume that they didn’t do their home work before making this scandal public.
It will be nothing less than a ten thousand watt shock if these players will be found not guilty, which will make ICC release them from all charges.
But let’s suppose hypothetically that this is a rock solid case, and ICC will eventually succeed in banning these players for life, but the real question which will come into the equation is, are they the only one doing this crime in the sport?
Another question will be that is it fair to just blame the Pakistan Cricket for all the wrong doings going on in the sport?
Is it justified for the rest of the world to keep having doubts over the Men in Green only, and keep having doubts over the matches involve the green caps on?
There is no denying that there is a large portion of population in this country, who belief that these players are pro-visionary suspended for the past five months just because they are Pakistani’s and that PCB in general is too weak to defend the players.
If you roam around in this country, people will ask you questions that what if these players were not Pakistani’s and let’s suppose they were Indian’s or Australians or English players, would ICC ban these players the same way they did to Pakistani players? And frankly, people like me cannot answer these question.
Quite frankly, people ask such questions because ICC is not as independent as the other sporting bodies are. They rely heavily on Board of Control of Cricket in India (BCCI), CA and England Cricket Board (ECB), which is unlike FIFA.
That is one reason why the ICC is always found wanting when it comes down to actions against BCCI, CA or ECB, and that’s why their role will always look suspicious until or unless the organisation becomes completely independent.
The role of the organisation becomes even more suspicious when ICC’s Chief Executive MR. Logart gave an extremely immature statement when he confirmed the media that Pakistan’s victory over England also comes into scanner of ICC’s Anti-Corruption Unit (ACU), in which the ACU will investigate Pakistan team’s performance and will not investigate England’s performance, even though the it was England who lost the match from a winning situation.
That’s when some people are bound to raise their eye brows and ask questions like :
Why ICC will not investigate the Suresh Raina
incident which was officially complained not by any Tabloid but by ICC’s Full Member, Sri Lankan Cricket Board??
Why the ICC never banned players like Shane Warne, Mark Waugh who even admitted that they were a apart of match fixing?
Why ICC never investigate the collapse of Indian batting line up for just 80 Runs against New Zealand, who are one of the weakest bowling line-up in the world, that too on a classical batting track in the first match of a Tri-series played in Sri Lanka in 2010?
On the same pitch, on that same day, New Zeland scored 280 runs and Indian team suffered one of the biggest defeat by runs margin in ODI history.
Why ICC never investigate the 1st T20 international between West Indies and Zimbabwe which was played in 2010, in which Zimbabwe beaten West Indies by 26 runs after scoring just 105 while batting first?
It’s important to mention here that West Indies team had players that includes the likes of Dinesh Ramdin, Shivnarine Chanderpaul, Dwayne Brave, Kieron Pollard and Darren Sammy.
How can the best Australian team of all time beaten, which included the likes of Adam Gilchrist, Mathew Hayden and Ricky Ponting by minnows Bangladesh?
To conclude, it has to be said that if ICC will not look into matter which are connected with all Test playing nations, it will only create more doubts in the mind of a common cricket follower
ICC’s neutral behavior is what everyone wants to see, and that’s because it is universal governing body, who has a lot to prove in this case.
As a cricket lover, all we want to see is justice to be done.
If anyone is guilty he should be punished, because nothing is bigger than the game, and if anyone is innocent then he should be cleared for life.