Sunday, September 5, 2010

Top 10: Myths About Pakistan's Cricket Scandal

As Pakistan's cricketers find themselves in a hole due to spot-fixing charges, a disappointed fan base has gone from being angry, to being ashamed, and finally into downright denial about the whole episode. I'm not saying the cricketers are guilty, but there is plenty of evidence, and unfortunately most of it points in one direction. Here are ten things I've heard, all of whom portray an incorrect version of what is going on. Most of it is common sense, but then not a lot of people seem to see through that lens when it comes to cricket.

10. The 'innocent until proven guilty' defense. 

How wonderfully convenient. Going by this logic, guess who else is innocent? Yeah, this guy:

Also, innocent until proven guilty?
How many of us have not taken potshots at him in the last 2.5 years? Didn't quite remember the golden ideal of law then did we? There is enough evidence against Butt & co. to guarantee an interrogation by EVERYONE - that means the media and you and me.

9. This is an elaborate conspiracy to bring down Pakistan cricket.

Unless I was sleeping all this time, Pakistan isn't the West Indian team of the 80s or the Aussies of the previous decade. In fact, this is a team that has won a grand total of 1 Test match in the last 3 years, until this summer. There does not need to be a conspiracy to bring them down. They're pretty down already.

8. This ALWAYS happens to us on tours to England.

For starters, we've been accused of ball-tampering in England, but never of match-fixing. In any case when something wrong does happen to us on tours to England, we've fought for it and come out on the winning side. At the Oval in 2006 Inzamam took the right stand, because he was innocent, and eventually Pakistan cricket came out with its head held high. Ditto Wasim and Waqar in 1992 and Imran vs Botham before. If Butt & co. were innocent, they would've done an Inzamam and come out with guns blazing protesting their innocence. Instead, the crisis is a good 7 days old and not yet have any of the accused come out and said three simple words: 'I am innocent'. That says alot.

7. News of the World is a trashy tabloid. Don't believe in it.

Contrary to popular opinion, Mazhar Majeed did not come on the media's radar via NotW. He came on it via good ol' Jang. In a report on July 27th, veteran journalist Abdul Majid Bhatti clearly pointed at Majeed and warned that he was involved in match-fixing with the team. So the buck started at home, not NoTW. In any case, Mazhar Mahmood, the reporter at NoTW, who uncovered this saga, has a pretty good resume in this craft. He has helped blow the lid of British parliamentarians and the country's immigration policy amongst other things. Most of these stories proved to be true. So I wouldn't base my opinion simply around a newspaper's reputation.

6. The video could have been dated after the no-balls were bowled.

Does it not occur to anyone that if we were smart enough to think of this point, it would also be the FIRST thing the Scotland Yard might have also looked at? Unless, you think the Yard is also part of the conspiracy, at which point you should stop reading this.

5. This is a RAW conspiracy to use Indian bookies and bring down Pakistan.

Head, meet wall.

4. Mohammed Aamer is a kid, he didn't know what he was doing.

My 12-year old sister thinks what Aamer did was wrong. If she can think of this, so can Aamer. Should he be banned for life? I don't think he will, because the ICC's laws take past record and a player's age into account, but for God's sake, stop pretending as if he's a little kid who did not know what he was doing. If anything his precocious talent and off-field interviews show that he's not a naive, shorts-wearing, lollipop-eating infant many in Pakistan are projecting him as.

3. A lack of education and a village background is responsible for corrupting cricketers.

Two words: Salman Butt. The alleged ringleader of this scam is an educated, relatively affluent Lahori boy from Beaconhouse (one of Pakistan's best schools). Greed is universal, not restricted by education or income. In any case, saying that what Asif and Aamer did was because they were raised in a village is an insult to the 60% of Pakistan's population who live in rural areas, and make a living of honest means.

Not very uneducated, or is he?
2. It's just 4 or 6 guys, the rest are OK.

If it was so easy for an 18-year old to cheat, I doubt if someone older and more experienced wouldn't dab into this once in a while. This is when you feel sorry for Butt & co. Everyone was doing it forever, it was just they who got caught.

1. Pakistan cricket is ruined.

In my 15 years as a fan I have seen Pakistan cricket 'ruined' more times than I can remember (often in the space of a few months!). Each time we grew a crop of talented players, beat an England or an Australia, won a tournament or two and all was good. Rest assured, it's gonna be this way again. As the 'who-the-hell-is-she' individual in this scenario, Asif's ex-girlfriend Veena Malik, says, there is a 'Mohamamd Asif in every street of Pakistan'. She's right ( though I feel highly disturbed at the thought of agreeing with her). Point is, we lost a couple of fast bowlers, we'll get more. If we can replace Wasim and Waqar within months of their retirement, we can replace Asif and Aamer in much, much less time. Have some faith.

In the end, just to clarify, I'm not passing a judgement on the players' fate. I just feel those defending them need to be more creative (and realistic).


  1. lol .. good one! but like you said on your post on Facebook, i do disagree with a lot of the stuff you've written here! :)

  2. umm...

    they DIDN'T suspend kami... what better way than for a nefarious hidden hand to fuck with us? i'm sorry, but that ruins all your well-thought arguments.

    kamran konspiracy 1 - 0 blue rickshaw

  3. haha, that is exactly what i meant by the defenders being more 'creative'. and kami is gonna get effed pretty bad, very soon, i've got a great feeling about it!

  4. You tell the nation to get educated, well within that education system there is a subject called law. Within that subject there is a statement saying INNOCENT UNTIL PROVEN GUILTY! so basically you mean to say, whatever you guys think is right, and whatever anyone else thinks is wrong? lol i certainly believe we dont need to be educated if this is where education takes us!

  5. Firstly, do not even for a moment say that Zardari isn't corrupt and do not give me that bullshit of he's innocent until proven guilty. His guilt is blatant, I have personally been affected by his greed and am aware of all his activities including the recent purchase of a flat in London costing £140 Million.

    Secondly, News of the World is a trashy tabloid with gossip and naked women in it. It has been sued 7 times and currently the former editor is on trial. Even if Geo reported a minor incident it is NOTW which is blowing it out of proportion. They ARE NOT a credible source. Those videos of 'proof' looked as though they were straight out of an indian film.

    Pakistan has time and time again been under the spot light and we are all aware that Haroon Lorgar (ICC CEO) is not a big fan of Pakistan and rightly so maybe...but instead of believing what you read in the press..stand back and analyse the facts.

    I think you need to be realistic and not tell us to be realistic because clearly you think these boys are guilty. This nation lacks patience and thats what is needed right now. Patience and support. Let the investigation take place for Gods sake. As far as the players are concerned why should they say they are innocent? So that people like you jump to further conclusions. Thank God they are behaving smartly and keeping quiet till the investigation is over.

  6. The simple motto of do anything you want just don't get caught is obviously something pakistan cricket does bot understand
    a) shoaib ball tampering with his nail
    b) afridi biting the ball
    c) this incident

    So clearly there is an issue with ethic fundamentals in pakistan's cricket culture . Start at the roots and solve the issue . It's a pity because cricket has usurped many things to become the shining beacon of Pakistani culture. It's almost as if cricket is a portrayal albeit a facade but most certainly a very transparent one that allows you to see all problems within afflicting the country. Remove corrupt shitty top rung officials and the system will change itself .

  7. Anon2: All your criticisms are valid, except the last one where you say that them not expressing their innocence is 'smart'.

    Unless you think having multiplying allegations slung at you, being suspended by the ICC and losing the respect of the nation is 'smart', that is.

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