Placing corruption squarely on Pakistan’s shoulders is narrow-minded

2010-09-22 00:00

JUST when we thought Pakistan cricket could not get itself into deeper water, chairman Ijaz Butt has made allegations with the potential to just about sink them. The Pakistan Cricket Board chairperson’s provocative accusations that English players were on the take in the third one-day international against Pakistan at The Oval has elicited widespread outrage in English cricket circles and at home in Pakistan.

An angry Andrew Strauss, the English captain, who considered withdrawing his team from the series, inists strong action needs to be taken against those people out to tarnish the integrity of English cricket. After losing the fourth ODI at Lord’s, it’s clear that the stress is taking its toll on the English players. It’s even understandable that tensions have spilled over into pre-match spats between Jonathon Trott and Wahab Riaz.

Sir Ian Botham has been unreservedly damning of Butt’s recriminations, saying that Pakistan deserve to be thrown out of world cricket altogether. He went on to say that the current situation is “appalling” and “farcical”.

Pakistan and England are level going into today’s series decider at the Rose Bowl in Southampton. The tragedy is that it’s unlikely that this series will be remembered for anything besides the controversy Butt’s comments have generated.

Butt’s predecessors have expressed their concern that his irresponsible comments will lead to further isolation of Pakistan from the international cricketing community. England and Wales Cricket Board chairperson David Collier must be seething considering the lengths to which he went to accommodate Pakistan when the ICC withdrew it as a Test tour venue due to security concerns. The ECB offered to be a neutral venue for the recent series played between Pakistan and Australia. Such is the strain between the ECB and the PCB that Collier has announced that they will not consider acting as a neutral venue for Pakistan in the near future.

As an ex -cricketer, I am greatly saddenend by the revelations and allegations of the last couple of months. Touring Pakistan with Zimbabwe and playing in fascinating places like Sheikapura, Gujranwala, Karachi and Lahore was an incredible experience. We’ve already had to come to terms with the fact that for the foreseeable future international cricketers will be denied this opportunity. It is a tragedy for the players as much as for the Pakistani cricket lovers. It is a sad reality that Pakistan stand on the brink of being thrown out of world cricket altogether. One can’t imagine world cricket without Pakistan’s prodigious talent. What of the potential Wasim Akrams and Waquar Younises and their legendary reverse swing?

Botham has described corruption as a cancer, and believes that by banning Pakistan the ICC will get to the root of the problem. To place cricket corruption squarely on the shoulders of Pakistan is narrow-minded in my opinion. Corruption is indeed a disease that is rife in international cricket. The International Cricket Council, who have fumbled in the past,are now under immense pressure to take strong and decisive action. They desperately need to stop the rot before world cricket succumbs to this terminal illness.

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