Eighteen years ago it was the Holy month of Ramadan when cricket brought an extravagant delight for the people of Pakistan as we had crowned World Champions for the first time. But now during the same month we’ve been facing the worst ever cricket corruption charges against few of our players. Some cherished memories ah!!
Few days back British tabloid News Of The World (which has been sued by celebrities five times and has been famous for celebrity scoops and scandals) broke the sensational story of spot fixing scandal by bribing a bookie, Mazhar Majeed. In a hidden camera video the bookie allegedly informed the reporter that Amir and Asif will deliver no balls at particular time during the Lord’s test match. Later on the same happened. Only God knows if the video was made before or after the day when some extraordinary no balls were delivered.
Following the story of News Of The World, there has been a hurricane in the media regading the scandal demanding life time ban and strict action against the players. PCB remained deaf and dumb to this highly enraged debate, as were the players who were named. There were doubted actions and reactions coming from them. Scotland Yard step in to investigate the matter and so far its report has not been made public. Wicket keeper Kamran Akmal has been cleared after the investigations.
But now finally the storm of spot fixing has engulfed the flawed jewels of cricket as International Cricket Council (ICC) has decided to suspened three Pakistani Players, Mohammad Amir, Mohammad Asif and Salman Butt under anti-corruption code. They are immediately banned from participating in all cricket and related activities until the case concludes.
An ICC press release said that the three players had been charged with “various offences under Article 2 of the ICC Anti-Corruption Code for Players and Player Support Personnel relating to alleged irregular behavior during, and in relation to, the fourth Test between England and Pakistan at Lord’s last month”. The players have 14 days to appeal against the decision and to request a hearing.
The decision was somewhat expected as it was annouced ealier by PCB that players are not in a frame of mind to continue the series so they decided to voluntarily step out of the remaining matches of the ongoing UK tour. At the same time ICC announced the suspension without sharing any proof or evidence against the players.
The ICC chief executive Haroon Lorgat said:
“We will not tolerate corruption in cricket – simple as that. We must be decisive with such matters and if proven, these offences carry serious penalties up to a life ban. It is important, however, that we do not pre-judge the guilt of these three players. That is for the independent tribunal alone to decide.”
The whole scenario indeed has been sad for the spirit of sports and every sport lover condemns such corruption in their beloved sport. People sacrifice their time and money to watch their heroes playing for the sake of their national pride, not for some fixed match. ICC anti corruption unit is operational but it needs to be more alert and effective. The players have been charged with some serious allegations which if proved could and should result in lifetime ban, but if not, no body could bring their self pride back.