Love, donkeys and Pakistani cricket
Following the accusations of suspected match-fixing hurled at Pakistan’s cricket team, a plethora of explanatory theories have been put forth. Some, like the Pakistan Team Manager Yawar Saeed, discount the view that the cricket team is ‘institutionally corrupt’ whilst the more diehard of enthusiasts have instantly suggested that it is merely an Indian-manufactured conspiracy. Furthermore, some – who have been disillusioned by the team’s objectionable conduct – have resorted to leading a procession of donkeys through the streets of Lahore and pelting them with shoes. Of course, there are some, like Veena Malik (Mohammad Asif’s ex-girlfriend) who have capitalized on this opportunity just to unleash a personal vendetta.
Unfortunately, the core issue – of the team’s fraudulence – cannot be rectified by tossing rotten tomatoes at innocent donkeys. There must be a more instructive response to this debacle which, in this context, can only be reaped through the ICC Cricket Code of Conduct. This essentially outlines a set of regulations that govern the conduct of ‘professional players in the sport of cricket’ and indicates that the players may be eligible to the following punitive actions in the event of match-fixing:
a) Fined a percentage of their salary
b) Banned from a number of matches or
c) Banned for a number of years or for life.
More significantly, it highlights the serious offences under which these lines of actions can be exercised. These include ‘gambling on matches (betting), failing to perform in a match in return for a benefit, such as money or goods, inducing the player to perform one of the above two actions and failure to report certain incidents relating to match-fixing or gambling’.
What is particularly disturbing is that these sanctions and penalties are as applicable to Pakistan’s cricket team as its reputation for defraud. At this juncture – when the nation is struggling to understand yet another form of corruption – it is important to modify our preconceptions about the people we venerate as our role models.
The fact is, we have grown so accustomed to the celebrity syndrome that we fail to detect the authenticity of those we fanatically idolize. Perhaps that is why ‘serial match-fixers’ (as Veena Malik aptly describes them) are household names and a very superficial response has been shown to this underhanded act of treason.
The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.