Corruption Spoils A Nice Weekend
Posted on August 30, 2010
Spurred on by this event I was going to write a witty blog of the most ludicrous events I have witnessed, then all of a sudden we were hit by the cricket betting scandal that has shocked the nation, so it will have to wait. I don’t know where to start on this really, as most scandals are juicy gossip revolving around an individuals fall from grace. We enjoy it, as it often involves a pompous, or arrogant individual who has pontificated about christian values and morality, only to be found to have the same human failings of which they have been so critical (See my Caroline Nokes Blog here)
The Pakistan cricket scandal is different in so many ways, it involves so many people, and affects the very fabric of the sport in more ways than anyone can contemplate just yet, as the allegations are becoming stronger by the hour. It has maybe affected me more than others, because I coach a colts cricket team, and I have an impressionable 14 year old son who I have taught the values and decency of a good game of cricket. I took him to see Australia v Pakistan earlier in the summer in what appeared at the time, an enthralling encounter. That now counts for nothing. I exchanged text messages with him as the outrageously talented Mohamhed Amir tore through the England batsmen on Friday morning, and again as Stuart Broad and Jonathon Trott staged a heroic fightback, that we all thought would be the stuff of legends. That now counts for nothing.
The allegations, if proven may be seen by some as just the odd no ball, but what else has gone on? Why have Pakistan collapsed to three innings of less than a hundred? Why did Kamran Akmal the wicketkeeper drop the most inexplicably routine catches one after the other? Why did Siaid Afreedi retire from international tests so abruptly? Everything now seems so obvious, including the time when my son rang me in stitches after he had seen the worst fluffed catch by a fielder in Test cricket. It’s a desperate situation, and I am certain it is the tip of an unsavoury iceberg. The News of The World are synonymous with stings on pop stars, politicians and footballers, but whether they knew it or not, the consequences of this are far further reaching.
World cricket needs Pakistan, like football needs Brazil, they have produced some of the greatest players of all time such as Imran Khan, Waqar Younis, and Wasim Akram, but something needs to change quickly. However from what I have read (I am no expert on sub continent politics) Pakistan is institutionally corrupt, and that Pakistani cricket is a reflection of society as whole. 70% of government money is spent on defence, and very little on education and infrastructure. kids grow up believing that a fast buck, by whatever means, is the only way out of the slums, and once the impressionable cricketers of this nation fall in to the hands of mafia betting rings, what choice do they have?
It is very easy for the tabloid press to take the moral high ground over an 18 year old boy like Mohahmed Amir, but maybe bowling a no ball in a game of cricket seems an easier option than having his family hounded by gangsters. The problem is, once you have said yes once, that is never enough. England and Australia are now under huge pressure to make the 2010/2011 Ashes contest one of the best ever, otherwise a generation of kids may just walk away from
Sorry to bore non cricket fans, I had to get that off my chest.