Aamer, Asif, how could you?

Published: August 29, 2010

These cricketers were not merely our sportsmen, they were our heroes.

Pakistan’s cricket players are our heroes. The dream of every young buck lacing his gully is to some day develop an array of pull, cut and various creative cross-bat shots reminiscent of the likes of Saeed Anwar, Inzamamul Haq to name a few – or perhaps bowl as fast as Shoaib Akhtar, as ruthlessly as Waqar Younis and as majestically as Wasim Akram.

These cricketers were not merely our sportsmen, they were our heroes. We feted them, loved them, cherished them. We burdened them with providing us an avenue to escape the mundane rut of our everyday lives and garnering pride in Pakistan. Our country has failed itself, and to be fair it’s not all our own fault (floods, hurricanes, earthquakes), but more than enough of it is (corruption, mismanagement and pure incompetence). Pakistan was never perfect, but our cricket team was always there for us. Win, Lose or Draw, they were our own. Until Now.

A British tabloid, The News of the World, gleefully revealed the sad truth that has haunted our nation for generations; that our international sporting ambassadors accepted bribes in exchange for altering/shaping their performance. Whether it was bowling a sequence of no-balls or playing out a maiden over, it’s blindingly apparent that they were all guilty. And no, we can’t blame this on a Zionist conspiracy, they don’t even play cricket.

To those responsible; our Captain (leading from the front as always), our wicket keeper (poor form or just an obsessive love of money I have to wonder), our premier fast bowlers (as quick to make a buck as to bowl), I abhor you and if you were in front of me now, I’d spit in your faces and let you rot in jail.

My heart shudders at the thought that they this may be ‘just the start’. I forlornly hope it’s not, but I’m fairly certain that there is yet more feces to be flung onto our nation’s already desecrated flag. The white was already fading under the weight of intolerance but the rest grows murkier. I’m not sure if it’ll ever be the same, or that I’ll ever be able to watch my team again without feeling utter disgust for the players that pretend to wear that green with anything resembling pride.

Congratulations team, you have sullied my faith in ALL things Pakistan. What did we do to deserve this? Could we have loved you anymore? Cheered you any louder? Supported you regardless of your pathetic effort on the pitches of our former colonial rulers? Obviously this is our fault.

Thank you for sullying every child’s dream of playing for Pakistan. Apparently it’s not worth anything more than a bundle of pounds packed away in a swiss bank.

We loved you too much. Now watch us hate you.


Murtaza Ali Jafri

A Karachi based banker who writes cultural satire

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

  • Tayyab Raza

    “We loved you too much. Now watch us hate you”
    End of discussion.Recommend

  • AH

    Innocent until proven guiltyRecommend

  • http://depthofocus.wordpress.com Hashim Nauman

    They should learn a lesson from shoaib malik and sania mirza who indeed took match fixing to an entirely new level :)Recommend

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

    This lowest ebb of Pakistan cricket team reminds me of Fasi Zaka’s statement when he said that we are diseased, rotten to every brain stem, world please make an impenetrable fence around us, keep us all in so we don’t spread it to other people, other countries.Recommend

  • rehan

    We have an International Airport at Sialkot.Recommend

  • rehan

    @AH. The filth that our cricket has turned into and the 180degrees image building it has done for us,let us pay them back in the same coin..GUILTY UNTIL PROVEN INNOCENT.Recommend

  • Tony Khan

    Innocent till proven guilty. If guilty they should be banned permanently, but with Pakistan’s track record they will find a ‘deal’ to make a comeback.Recommend

  • Birjees

    its simply a horrendous dream which ultimately came true.Nothing less indecent could be expected out of our team.hats off!Recommend

  • Omar

    Surprised…..I feel really sad for Amir.All the responsibility goes to the board.
    They should have taken this issue seriously few years back when Asif And Akthar’s Drug Scandal emerged.Their Laziness or carelessness to this issue has done a big damage to Pakistani cricket…
    May Allah help them and I hope that they will come out of this issue cleanly…Recommend

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

    By the way Asif is a known criminal. Nation needs not to surprise if such scandals come from this guy.Recommend

  • Omar

    Surprised…..I feel really sad for Amir.All the responsibility goes to the board.
    They should have taken this issue seriously few years back when Asif And Akthar’s Drug Scandal emerged.Their Laziness or carelessness to this issue has done a big damage to Pakistani cricket…
    May Allah help them and I hope that they will come out of this issue cleanly…Recommend

  • Eeman Saleem

    Thinks about all lip-biting climaxes these guys take us through while playing pre-decided games.

    Embarrassment for already-beleaguered country. Recommend

  • http://wasiddiqui.wordpress.com Wajeeha A Siddiqui

    I still believe it is too early to say anything. Recommend

  • imran

    is there a rock bottom for us as a nation…or we just keep sinking…Recommend

  • Rao Amjad Ali

    The News of the World clip is a must see as it lays the case neatly on the “table” with innocent-until-proven-guilty Mr. Mazhar Majeed counting the bills, the evidence seems overwhelming and the impact of the floods pale for a moment!

    Mr. Sarfraz Nawaz has been crying hoarse for a long time now that match fixing had been going on pretty regularly but the PCB and its political handlers continued to sleep at the wheel. Or, wait, was there more than met the eye within the “hallowed” halls of the Board?

    Cruel as it might sound, Rehan’s point is well taken: Sialkot does have a functioning international airport.Recommend

  • Cameron

    No doubt this scandal, like every other, will somehow be dismissed by the subcontinental bloc as more racism from the “white” cricketing nations. Typical.Recommend

  • rehan saeed

    today i hang my head in shame for today im ashamed of being a pakistani…as for Amir…”et tu?”Recommend

  • abc

    Whats sialkots international airport got to do with this? :s

    these players should be banned for life, and jailed in England, will get off the hook in pak.Recommend

  • http://ykhan.wordpress.com Yasser

    it’s part of game no need to be emotional, i remember Ambrose once bowled so many NO balls, but the point is Let Aamer,Asif,Salman learn and give them punishments and fines. but yes Kamran Akmal is PAPPI, just banned himRecommend

  • Colgaze

    Mr. Cameron…… ….we would like to believe that they are innocent…until proven guilty more than anything because you see we are pretty passionate about cricket..and it hurts and most of us will be in denial even if these allegation come true and if that is the case true some lesson needs to be taught…and disciplinary actions…will be hailed….hopefully…and white racism…COME ON….at this time..no body care about that lol…Recommend

  • amz

    …Y do I see surprised faces? We hav dun tht before, we did it again. Atleast we r consistent with following our legacy !Recommend

  • http://hotmail Abdul Rahman Khan

    Those who were watching the current series from day one had no doubt in mind there was not something but quite fishy in the way suspect-players were performing. The broke their own records of low runs and total. The third test was an exception. They had to win it willy-nilly otherwise their scam was exposed beyond any doubt.
    Inter-rivalry on one side and greed for money by some players on the other, and nepotism by the pakistan cricket board were the real reasons for this downfall. Out of eleven players, ten were from punjab and one from KP – none from elsewhere.Why can’t we train boys from baluchistan and sind as well. Whose favourite is asif who despite being convicted in dubai and involved in other malpractices, was rehabilitated and given a place in the series. The already corrupt players were also corrupting the young and promising bowler Amir. Ijaz Butt’s mismanagement, to say the least, was also echoed in the sports standing committee of the National Assembly. It is high time Mr. Ijaz Butt be removed immediately and the PCB be re-structured to save the cricket from complete ruination.Recommend

  • http://syedaabidabokhari.wordpress.com/ The Only Normal Person Here.

    Seems that Noun lament and People of Pakistan are thrown in a box which is sealed tightly. No choice but to be glued to each other.

    I wonder what kinda cell were used to create our Pakistani Cricketers. They know well that Pakistan like country can not afford an entertainment like Cricket. Still they are supported, loved and paid extra heed on. But no they have to prove that they are bunch of corrupt morons who were lucky enough to exercise the whole nation’s fav time pass– Corruption.

    And relieved to see that you have included Asif’s name. Aamir had somehow overshadowed Asif in this whole affair. Recommend

  • Mango man

    okay how about this :
    Pakistani players took all the money to raise more funds for flood affectees. =PRecommend

  • Ghausia

    I’m sick of feeling bad and ashamed, at this point, I just laugh and say, we’re such losers. That being said, Murtaza I expected something more in line with your usual satire, but this was still well written. I’m not even a cricket fan (silly little boys hitting a silly little ball with their silly little stick, seems too much like they’re overcompensating for something)but now I just have reason to hate all of our cricketers. Thanks a lot Salman Butt and co. for taking away another thing us Pakistanis could be proud of.Recommend

  • Khadija Masood

    When it rains, it pours.Recommend

  • hakeem

    Why not return their donations for flood till decision of this scandal..if this is true thn they have harmed us more thn India ever did. If true, they have sold national dignity.Recommend

  • Sarah

    We were staying in England for several months so did you really expect the British media would let the opportunity to drag us in to controversy go? Stop judging before anything is proven.We’re the biggest self haters ever!Someone lifts a finger and we jump on the hate bandwagon in a jiffy!Recommend

  • Babar

    I bribed myself out of a traffic violation and also got ahead of queue at passport office by slipping a Rupee 500 note in guard’s pocket. What right do I have now to blame this bunch when I am also corrupt?

    Alas, this corruption has become national trait for Pakistan now.Recommend

  • Khawaja s Khalid

    Sir this is not a pakistani team.This is punjab team sorry only northern n upper punjab, why to blame whole province.Out of 11 players in presnt lords side no one is from karachi who used to be a hub of quality players.Shame on ejaz batt n mohsin khan.Recommend

  • Shazia Ali

    Murtaza … u have really spoken out the true feeling of any Pakistani … how could these people betray the trust of millions of Pakistani’s … this would not have happned if the first culprit of this issue (in early 90’s) were severaly punished and jailed … but since “forgive and forget” as been policy of PCB in the past … this is an issue for few weeks only and soon these traitors of PK will be seen back in the team and shamelessly giving interviews and appuladed by certain fraction of people. Recommend

  • http://www.socialics.com Bilal Tahir

    I m a huge fan of Pakistan cricket and i think this is just a scandal.
    Feww things that came in my mind
    1)the fake picture.
    2)As the young team of the Pakistan surprised England in the 3rd test & won the match by 4 wickets. The captain & other players of Pakistan Cricket Team told the media that they will win the 4th test & will level the series.
    Why they didn’t went to Police on August 27, 2010? Because the video was not prepared or the time was not good enough to leak the news. Because they were waiting for this poor performance from Pakistan & the big one is they were making video & after completing them, they went to Police on August 28, 2010.
    When ever Pakistan went to England there has been a controversy.
    IN 1987: When Imran Khan’s 11 was going to win the series against England they alleged Pakistan’s team manager of sexually harassing the maid of the hotel the team was staying in.
    In 2006: Every one knows that Inzamam-ul-haq forfeited the match cause of allegations of Ball tempering.
    In 2010(today): Spot fixing and alleged by british media.Bullshit
    I pray to Allah that our players are proven innocent and their media gets a shutup call.
    And i more thing
    All the newspaper except News of the world has published
    “Man Held in London for Suspected Conspiracy to Defraud Cricket Bookmakers”
    where did Pakistan come in between.
    and i agree to reply above ” Innocent until proven guilty” And InshAllah They’ll be proven InnocentRecommend

  • Tehreem Mahmood

    Could you please support the pakistani players until they are proven guilty of anything? They set up all may be to set up Aamir. The Australians and the English would never want another Waseem Akram emerging from Pakistan! Get a life people! Wake up! If you follow the GORA sayings so religiously, here’s one for you… “Innocent until proven guilty”.Recommend

  • Saad Durrani

    Tabloid telling truth. When did that happen? News of the World is a gossip-monger. If it had been the Independent or The Guardian reporting then it could have been worth discussing. I wonder why the blogs have to be so irresponsible. A simple Google run shows News of the World is British Beejamalo.Recommend

  • Cameron

    Colgaze I only meant that whenever these things happen with Pakistan it is never their fault. When their players were questioned about cheating after the tour of Australia the politicians and the officials cried racism, after the ball-tampering incident at The Oval, yes that’s right, it was “racism” too. Now Tehreem Mahmood says “The Australians and English would never want another Waseem Akram emerging from Pakistan”. What garbage.

    I wish the Pakistanis wouldn’t do these things so they could be a part of our international game. I have been a strong supporter of their involvement in cricket for the sake of the Pakistani people as I know there has been a lot of trouble there recently. But it is getting harder and harder to see the point. How must the Sri Lankan players, the Australian and the English umpires be feeling right now? They put their lives at risk for the sake of this team. If Pakistan had even a thousandth of the respect and reverence for the game that those players and officials had then they would never have thought about taking that sort of dirty money.

    All the players involved should be given life bans and the evidence at this stage looks damning. It is a shame to destroy the career of someone like Aamer, so talented and so young, but more important things are at stake and this is bigger than one man. I just can’t believe that the team would do this I know Pakistani culture is different from mine but I just don’t understand, why??Recommend

  • 7eba

    Don’t you think its too soon for such statements? Patience. Patience.Recommend

  • abc

    Guilty as sin. All these players are guilty as sin, look at the press conference that was held. Look at Salman Butt; he has not denied the allegations even once.. he has repeatedly said they are just allegations and yet to be proved.. not once has he claimed he’s innocent. All these players should be banned and jailed. Scr** Asif, once a cheat always a cheat, Aamer: how could YOU?

    Below is the video of Salman Butt and Yawar Saeed with the media.

    [1]: http://Salman faces the mediaRecommend

  • Anoop

    Dont worry guys your “heroes” will be back playing for Pakistan soon. PCB will not hand them life bans(which they deserve and would have got in any other Cricket board).

    Aamer is 18 now, I promise you’ll see him in his 20s bowling for Pakistan.

    You can always trust the PCB to do the wrong thing.Recommend

  • Ebby

    We are an over-reacted and hyper nation. Nothing has been proved to date- it is just an allegation but most of us are ashmed, ashmed of what? no body knows.

    We need some buring issues so that we can show our talent- how mean we are and how easily we can forget things. We are not only short tampered but have a very bad memory as well. I may not quote all the current achievments here but for my asshamed fellows i would like to remind them that team Green is OURs and we must defend them because as they say ” Innocent until proven gulity.”Recommend

  • Anwar

    Guilty, Guilty, Guilty!!! There is no other option. It is clear as black and white.Recommend

  • Sam

    Sure, its innocent until proven guilty. But in this time of constant Paki-bashing around the world even baseless allegations hurt as much proven guilt.Recommend

  • shazia ali

    OMG … why the people are saying “innocent until proven guilty” … this issue has been raised in past … for those who donot remeber … Justice Qauyum Commission … where salim malik was banned as he did not any support or let say back up but Waseem Akaram and two others got away with just 2-3 lac fines … why on earth they were fined if they were innocent? … people who are raisig this plea of “innocent until proven guilty ” are the same fraction that have been part of this constant humilation of we Pakistani’s all around the world … Plz its high time that we as nation stand up and voice for justice and merit in every walk of life in PK and end this corrouption… this is the only way we as nation can survive … just to remind the same fraction of people that look what India did to Azhar and Jadeja … and nobody in India dares to get involved and risk their career but same place is famous for bookers for Pakistani cricketers … why becuz they know that these bloody pakistanis cricketers are “for sale everywhere in the world”!!!Recommend

  • hammad
  • Silent Observer

    OK we are talking about professional cricketers here and they are the best that is the reason they representing PAKISTAN at the world stage.Now can any of you explain the length of no balls that Amir bowled?Keep in mind they bowl day in & day out and What about the jacket sharing stint by Mr.Wahab Riaz?Bangladeshi team was playing against England and they did put up a good batting performances unlike our batting line.
    They are guilty and they should be punished. Recommend