No Backward Glances

With the dust still settling, this probably isn't the time or place for a homily on the verdicts handed down to the Pakistan Three.

However, a couple of things require comment. Firstly, the strong implication in Osman Samiuddin's Cricinfo report that the tribunal would have preferred to hand down more lenient sentences, and then the sense of injured pride embodied by Amir's statements - such as 'two no-balls should not be five years' punishment' - both of which tend to indicate that both the accused and those judging them still don't quite appreciate the seriousness of what went on at Lord's last August.

The fact that it was 'only' two no-balls (if that's all it was) is irrelevant. Players deliberately under-performed as a result of outside influence. They cheated their fellow players, they cheated the spectators and they cheated the integrity of the game. They weren't the first, sadly they probably won't be the last, but they deserve everything they've got.

As this shows, I thought Mohammad Asif was a genuinely outstanding bowler who could have been great. In all probability, though, his career at the highest level is now over, and nobody who cares for the game should shed a single tear or cast him a backward glance. The same - apart, of course, from the possibility of greatness - goes for Salman Butt.

Mohammad Amir, who will only be 23 when his ban finishes, may yet have the opportunity to fulfil his huge potential.

Let's leave it there for now.


Dean @ Cricket Betting Blog said...

I'd pretty much second all of that Brian. I wrote myself that people still don't seem to get the point here.

Amir's opinion, that he has been hard done by, is ridiculous. There has been no humility whatsoever, no 'oh didn't we do well just to all get 5 years,' which is all they really got.

Instead we have been treated to people in Pakistan claiming they are all innocent, and the worst thing of all for me, the fact that the players would seem to be already preparing appeals on the grounds that the tribunal indicated that they would have given lesser bans, had they the authority to do so.

If ICC don't stamp this out now, you have to wonder if they ever will.

We have to believe in what we watch, if these three get off with lesser bans of say, 2-3 years, then where is the real deterrent?

I can only assume judging by what the tribunal said, that the lengths of bans are set by ICC. If they bow to pressure from the tribunal and change this, then what message are they sending out?

Brian Carpenter said...

Thanks, Dean. I had read your piece.

It's an interesting example of how people's views on what constitutes cheating differ according to the culture they've been brought up in. I'm sure that Amir doesn't really think he's done much wrong -as far as he's concerned it really is just a couple of no-balls and he doesn't understand that deliberately altering how you play for financial inducement is fundamentally wrong. Asif and Butt may think the same, despite their greater experience.

Perhaps an argument for what Michael Vaughan said on Twitter yesterday, namely that a life ban for anyone involved in this type of thing removes any debate. I'm not sure I quite agree, as there will always be nuances, but it would certainly mean that people like Amir would get a clearer impression that what they've done is completely unacceptable.

Dean @ Cricket Betting Blog said...

No, I'm not sure I'd agree with Vaughan either. Yes it is a clear message, but there must be some room for discretion in judging these issues.

Too add to that, I know this had been said before, but what is there to stop a 35 year old from doing it - a ban certainly wouldn't. There has to be more to it than just bans or life bans. It's not that straight forward.

Thats also true about peoples differing views on cheating. I'd bet that Amir didn't even realise the significance of what he was expected to do.

At first when all this blew up, he probably wondered what all the fuss was about. That would have to be down to lack of education, and the buck would have to stop with the PCB for that.

All-in-all, it's a minefield.

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