The last time I wrote about Pakistan cricket we had just beaten the Aussies in a test match after 15 years. What a different story this time around. For those of you not up to speed on the matter, members of the Pakistan team have been accused of spot-betting, that is, they acted in certain ways that were told to them before the test match in return for money. Mohammad Aamer and Mohammad Asif, the two star bowlers of the cricket team bowled no balls at specific times, these times were disclosed by Mazhar Majeed, the agent orchestrating the whole thing to an undercover ‘News of the World’ reporter. Salman Butt and Kamran Akmal are also involved as well as three other unknown Pakistanis.
What a bloody disgrace. Salman Butt’s statement that at the moment these are simply ‘allegations’ are the furthest thing from the truth I have ever heard. It is a fact that spot-betting took place with at least the four mentioned people and most likely even more involved. What the investigation must now uncover is to what extent have the Pakistani team members been involved in match fixing. According to the bible magazine of cricket, cricinfo.com Salman Butt was asked straight up at the press conference if the Sydney Test was fixed. He declined to comment. He was asked if he was innocent, he declined to comment. He was asked if he would resign the captaincy his response was ‘why?’ Why? WHY? I’ll tell you why. Because you have disgraced a country at a time when we needed cricket the most. In the post match ceremony of the previous test that Pakistan actually won, Salman Butt dedicated the win to the flood victims and said they would try to win the next test for the flood victims as well. Is this what you mean by dedicating a victory? Taking money to ensure spot-betting took place? He claims no allegations against him have been leveled besides having his name thrown about in the media. Really Salman, you being the one bloody semi-educated chap on the team can’t figure this one out? Mazhar Majeed clearly said that Aamer will bowl the first over and Asif will bowl the tenth. Sure anyone could tell you that with 90% certainty, but Mazhar guaranteed that will happen. The only person who can guarantee that Aamer would bowl the first over and Asif the tenth is our glorious captain, Salman Butt. So there is your allegation dumb ass.
Wahab Riaz’s name is somehow escaping the media by and large. Even loyal cricket supporters may be confused by that name. Wahab Riaz who just made his debut in the last test match is also involved. Included in the ‘News of the World’ report is a video where he exchanges jackets with an agent, the one he gets in exchange for his has a nice wad of cash in the inside pocket which was clearly shown to him before the switch took place. Wow, a guy who has played two test matches is already knee deep in shit.
The most heartbreaking part of this whole fiasco is the confirmed involvement of the 18 year old Aamer. Billed as the next Wasim Akram, Aamer has exploded onto the international cricket scene in the last year and has been a joy to watch. Yet here is, knee deep in shit. According to reports in the local media, the agents link to Aamer was through Asif, who I will get to in a bit. On Express News yesterday, reports suggested that Asif, being a well known bastard of the first order, was initially contacted exclusively to indulge in spot-betting. He was then asked how well he knew Aamer, and that is where the youngster got roped in. Now, objectively viewing the situation, if an 18 year old thrust into fame coming from a poor background was offered 20 lakh rupees simply to bowl one no ball, you could understand why he would say sure, why not. It is by no means acceptable, this was only the start, maybe by next year he would be willing to throw away the World Cup final. However, out of all of those involved, he is the least accountable, which means he deserves to be pelted with stones and not bullets.
The involvement of Aamer in this brings to my next point. Team manager Yawar Saeed said that Pakistan is not institutionally corrupt. Really? Is that why a debutant and an 18 year old are involved in spot-betting? Is that why the captain and vice-captain of the team are involved, because we are NOT institutionally corrupt? Bull. Shit. The PCB is under the Government of Pakistan, which is the most corrupt body on the planet. Pakistan is the only country to have had more than one person banned for life for match fixing, Saleem Malik and some nobody called Ata-ur-Rehman. Of course there was the Qayyum report with hero no. 1 in Pakistan, Wasim Akram heavily involved. Our current coach Waqar Younis has had his name thrown in the mix, along with everyone and there brother in the Pakistan cricket team (Im serious about the brother part, Wasim Akram’s brother is an alleged bookie). So yes, the PCB is most definitely institutionally corrupt, get it out of the governments control, get rid of this moron Ijaz Butt, who as far as I can tell his only qualification is being related to the current Defense Minister.
I round off this piece by putting before you the chief culprit of it all and moving on to suggested punishments. Our captain is as much if not more to blame than in this, except for maybe the no. 2 ranked ICC Test bowler, Mohammad Asif. The swine has already been caught TWICE for doping with the same substance AND he has been held prisoner in Dubai for a couple of days for possessing opium. If you are a bookie and you want to get a foot in the door with the Pakistan team, the first person you go to is Mohammad Asif and that is exactly what happened. The professional thief was even bargaining his price for his involvement in the spot betting nonsense. It is fitting then to lead off my suggestions for what should happen that I start with none other than Mohammad Asif. People have called for repeating the horror scenes of the Sialkot lynching for the Pakistan cricket team. Now while that may be slightly over-doing it, it is a symbol of the anger people have.
So justice must be done. Asif should get the maximum punishment. On Sky News it was said that the maximum punishment by law for fraud is 10 years in jail, so that is what he should get. And he should be kept in jail there, not here, here he will just find his way out like he has with all the other shit he has done. Salman Butt should also get the maximum punishment. Kamran Akmal’s involvement is still unclear, but he sure as hell is guilty and a very senior player, so 5 years should do it. Aamer is young and a first time offender but he needs to serve time, 2 years I think, after which he should be allowed to return to the game of cricket if so chooses. Wahab Riaz is a nobody, ban him for life, get him behind bars and honestly I don’t care for how long. As for the current series, call the entire Test squad home and have an investigation to who else was involved. In the mean time, send the Pakistan A team to join Afridi to play out the rest of the tour. God only knows if Pakistan cricket will ever recover from this.