Our cricket players did nothing wrong…

Published: September 10, 2010

Pakistani cricketers who have been accused of spot-fixing

Pakistani cricketers who have been accused of spot-fixing We all contribute to corruption in some way shape or form

From outright fatwas of ‘hang them’ to milder sentences of life-time bans to the conspiracies – everyone seems to have been taken by surprise with corruption in cricket. However, does the occasion really call for such disgust? Is it really that shocking for us to learn of the down-payments on no-ball guarantees?

I, for one, am not surprised at all. In fact, I thought people would have treated it like a regular episode and moved on. The contrary response rather amazes me. Young players involved in the scandal and I think they simply did what we told them to do.

In a country where parliamentarians hold fake degrees, the president is branded Mr Ten per cent, the judiciary and democracy maul each other whenever the opportunity rises, mobs lynch innocent boys, three brothers are killed over Rs30, foreign aid is misappropriated, protests are registered through shoe-hurlings and mainstream media thrives upon sensational journalism, this just fits in perfectly. Don’t puff yourself up in an air of self-dignity with delusions that we are not a part of it all. Something clicks in the back of my mind – an oft quoted Urdu saying ‘yahan naik wo hai jis ko mauqa nahin mila.’ How neatly this describes the state of our society.

We all want our cut

All of us make our ‘ten per cent’ whenever the opportunity comes. We derive our per cent when we bribe a policeman to save us the trouble of a ticket for over-speeding or when we vote for people after having secured promises of personal benefits from them. Even when we pursue career with total single-mindedness and without giving a damn about the nation at all we add to the problem. We participate in corruption, misappropriation and embezzlement whenever we get a chance. Honesty comes by cheap these days and it’s only in larger stakes that most of us dither. That way, even the president is exempt of charges – at least from the ethical view-point.

If you’re having too much of an adrenaline rush because you were a die-hard fan of Asif or Aamer and feel the impulse to punch them just ask yourself this question: would you have passed the opportunity if you were in their place? If you were a star player and were asked by someone to simply deliver a no-ball in return for huge sums who would really say no? Let us get out of the cocoons of artificial piety and admit that most of us would have gone for it! Let us give up the portended hypocrisy and accept the fact that we are angry because we haven’t had our chance yet.

Corruption is who we are

From parliamentarians who mint hundreds of thousands of rupees in return for fake degrees to army top-dogs who run military corporation to an average policeman which one of us can say our hands are completely clean? Perhaps those who are clever enough to cover their tracks!

It always ends up with a public trial of the victim and a discourse which is divorced of all decency. We take all this trouble simply to reassert the perpetual state of denial that we live in: that of our own actions. We continue to assume our own innocence and vent out all justice upon others. The new definition of justice today is the treatment we decide for others. It never is about us. It’s always ‘they.’

Our cricket players simply did nothing wrong. You and I have no right to tell our players what to do since they are doing what we have been doing. They are simply following a national trait and are as much a ‘true Pakistani’ as any of the zealot patriots out there! If we must blame lets blame ourselves. Stop blaming the products of a corrupt machinery, rather blame the machinery itself.


Salman Latif

A blogger who blogs at salmanlatif.wordpress.com/ and tweets @salmanlateef

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • http://www.tanzeel.wordpress.com Tanzeel

    Two wrongs don’t make a right.Recommend

  • Shan

    is there no quality control on this website?Recommend

  • Ali

    I dont understand why you would Stereotype everyone as corrupt, we all know we have a large quantity of corrupt people in our country, but simply saying everyone here is corrupt would just be wrong.Recommend

  • Mango Juice

    No, we don’t. you probably do but many law-abiding, tax-paying citizens don’t and they deserve better from their national cricket team. They have that right, yet. Believe you me, there’s still many of them left -even in Pakistan. Enough painting the nation black, I will not stand for this. There are many people who have never bribed a policeman or never broken a traffic law or never missed a bill payment. I come across great people everyday in my line of work. You haven’t gotten out enough and explored the real Pakistan if you think we’re all corrupt. Recommend

  • MR

    Saying that it’s no surprise because all of us are corrupt does not exempt then.

    And I concur with Ali, Mango Juice and Tanzeel. It’s very easy to vent your anger out and jot down a few lines that, yet again, label all of us bad and degenerate but it’s very hard to quietly work for the nation. A lot of people are doing that. We’re knee-deep in crap nowadays. Lowering our morale further with pseudo-intellectual posts and op-eds like this doesn’t do anyone good.

    Please come up with something better. Recommend

  • Mawali

    I beleive the author is speaking of a culture of corruption. Hard not to generalize or stereoptype in a nation with a 5% tax base. Lying by most is considered acceptable behavior and morality remains elusive in the drive to subsist and survive.

    I just cannot condemn the average schmo for a lack of a moral code of conduct and thus in a way hard to condemn. Get rid of the Mulla culture and get people a job and perhaps then you will see some sense of normalcy. An idele mind is a mulla’s masjid.Recommend

  • http://www.salmanlatif.wordpress.com Salman Latif

    To all those who had a we-are-awesome-take-your-criticism-elsewhere for me, here’s my response:
    With due respect, we are a nation that’s ranked among the top in the list of most corrupt nations. My pleasure if you have a problem believing me, take the stats of UN!
    Next, someone said that empty criticism is no good. Indeed!! That’s precisely the point I am making. When it comes to us, we don’t really give a damn about the rules and regulations and when it comes to others, we can lament and criticize as much as we can. That’s what we do and need not to. Same applies to the case of our cricketers. Let’s not pretend that we are all puritans and admit we, as a nation, are more or less rotten and NEED TO CHANGE!

    P.S. Don’t jump to conclude any criticism as nation-bashing. Such attitude only reasserts our state which is to live in denial, never realize our mistakes and hence, never be able to correct them. This criticism is simply to bring to fore what is ignored, intentionally or otherwise. And my apologies, I have no sweet-candy posts for you filled with tales of false glory and greatness. Let’s open our eyes to the bitter reality and read the writing on the wall. It reads: YOU NEED TO CHANGE! Recommend