Spot-fixing allegations: ICC, stop accusing Pakistan all the time!

Published: July 29, 2013
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Pakistan was involved in a spot fixing scandal in 2010, but that does not mean that every time there is a nail biting ending to a Pakistan cricket match that the ICC should go hunting for spot fixers. PHOTO: AFP

Last-ball-wins in cricket are always thrilling, but when a debutante strikes a six on the last ball of the match to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat for his team, the moment is exhilarating for the team and fans alike. Zulfiqar Babar’s debut innings in the Pakistan versus West Indies match that ended with a resounding six on the last ball was one such occasion that will not be forgotten anytime soon.

However the thrill of seeing my national team work hard for a victory and then finally clinch it through sheer determination was marred by the infuriating Daily Mail report. They had the audacity to report that according to International Cricket Council’s Anti-Corruption and Security Unit (ACSU) the Pakistan versus West Indies cricket series has drawn their ‘special’ attention as claims of match fixing have reached their ever informed ears.

To this my humble question is,

‘Don’t you guys ever give up?’

Okay, we admit that Pakistan’s cricket team was involved in a spot fixing scandal a few years ago – emphasis on years here, but that does not mean that every time there is a nail biting ending to a Pakistan cricket match, the ICC should bring out its witch hunting gear and go hunting for spot fixers.

This is not the first time that Pakistan’s matches have been viewed suspiciously since the 2010 debacle and the result each time has been the same; no proof has been found of any misconduct on the part of the Pakistani squad and the suspicions have not amounted to much except for some TV coverage and  media brouhaha.

It does bring ones blood to boil when this attitude of the ICC seems to have become a silly habit.

The International Council seems to forget that our cricket team is considered to be one of the most, if not ‘the most’, spontaneous team of the entire cricketing world. I remember the commentator’s remarks when South Africa came against us in the World Cup, as they quite truthfully pointed out that it was a clash of the most robotic team in cricket with that of the most ‘free minded’ and ‘spontaneous’. For years our team has been considered a maverick when it comes to playing cricket.

It is a well-known fact that Pakistan can turn a walk in the park into an Everest accent and may crumble before a meagre total of 150, on the other hand; we have arrows in our quiver that can strike like thunder in any match and turn a ‘lost’ match into an ‘easy’ win. This is how our guys play and this is what we love about them.

So, in light of all the above mentioned, is the ICC new to Pakistani cricket or have they been living under a rock before 2010?

No one ever bothered to flag matches as suspicious before 2010; they just called them ‘nail biting endings’, a phrase the ICC seems to have removed from its dictionary when it comes to Pakistan now.

To add insult to injury, the English has-been, Chris Watts, had the audacity to comment on the situation saying,

 ‘There are some classic signs [of wrong doing],’

And what exactly are those ‘classic signs’, Mr Watts? Do enlighten us, for it remains a mystery to every cricket fan including myself.

I think it’s time the ICC woke up and stopped its worthless efforts to hang Pakistan. The reasons for this circus to stop are simple enough.

First and foremost is that the Pakistani cricket team is a highly decorated team; we didn’t just become a cricketing nation an hour ago, we have been playing since we beat Chris Watt’s team on their home soil just seven years after our nation was born. What makes this spot fixing claim even more laughable is the fact that new players, who are the least reliable and would not in fact qualify as ‘experienced’ enough to indulge in spot fixing, are being named as  major suspects in the scam. Perhaps a little more homework is required before the proverbial rumour mill starts churning.

Secondly, we are not the only team to have been plagued with match fixing scandals so does the ICC deliberate upon every match South Africa loses? After all, their captain Hansie Cronje was one of the most notorious match fixers of his time. Moreover, there are many matches played by the South African cricket team that have seemed dodgy to say the least and many losses that could have been avoided. The fact that they plan each match meticulously, watch hours of footage of their opponents and try to pinpoint flaws, which they skilfully exploit during the match, makes their losses even more questionable.

So does the ICC review every big game that the South African team has lost and proceed to accuse them too?

I’d like to draw the ICC’s sporadic attention to the batting inconsistency of the Australian team, which seems to have ‘classic signs [of wrong doing]’, if, of course, we were to look at it with a suspicious eye; unfortunately, they aren’t the ones being questioned. It is sad to see that the ICC only raises its bushy eyebrows where Pakistan is concerned, even though Pakistan is known for its inconsistent and unpredictable matches, and conveniently ignores any inconsistencies from other teams

The ICC should consider the damage they are doing to the game with their reckless actions. Inquiries, such as these, only portray cricket as being a dirty, shoddy game where low blows and spot fixing are rife, and player ethics are low; which of course is not the case.

The only silver lining, in this dark cloud of utter and sheer stupidity, is the PCB’s response to the allegations, and for once it has been spot on,

 ‘We are also contemplating legal action if these allegations are proven wrong’

I think it is high time that the Pakistani cricket team got the respect it so rightly deserves.

Saeed Ur Rehman

Saeed Ur Rehman

A human Rights activist and self taught polyglot, Saeed is a freelance article writer and blogger.

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

  • Pakistan

    ICC has not confrmed yet that they are doing any sort of investigation, it is just a claim of The Daily News. PCB should take legal action agaist that news paper if this allegation proofed wrong.

    But who is Chris Watt to comment on this issue. The series was between Pakistan and Westindies so in what capicaty he has been commenting. PCB should also give legal notice to Mr. Watt as well.Recommend

  • awais

    Umar Akmal’s last ball debacle behind the stumps during the 3rd match should be brought under the microscope. I felt like he deliberately missed the run out chance from Junaid khan’s throw. Recommend

  • https://twitter.com/Pugnate Noman Ansari

    a) Nothing is confirmed, including official word that ICC are actually investigating!

    b) Even though cricket is a gloriously unpredictable game, when extraordinary things happen with teams like Pakistan, naturally it looks suspicious.

    Also, I think you have your facts wrong if you think they are investigating the last ball six! You can bowl a no-ball at will, but you can’t spot fix a last ball sixer! Come on. Recommend

  • Vikas

    BCCI is behind this.Recommend

  • Queen

    The ICC and the Western media continue to feign ignorance of the corruption going on in the IPL but they leave no stone unturned in maligning the image of the Pakistan Cricket team. The recent reports are nothing but an attempt to give bad name to Pakistan. Recommend

  • mAS

    Please change the name of ICC from International to indianRecommend

  • Naila

    This article i think really expresses our opinion.Quiet heart warming n well written piece of work.Recommend

  • Gp65

    There has been no statement by ICC thus far, only a story from Daily Mail. At this point your acting PCB chairman has requested ICC to thoroughly investigate. Also unclear what you mean by saying that ICC constantly accuses you. The last time you were accused as part of a newspaper scoop and investigations by ICC proved the allegations correct resulting in a court conviction. So it is not as though ICC unfairly hounds Pakistan as you seem to imply. Stop the victim act already.Recommend

  • Np

    @Queen:
    IPL corruption was reported by BCCI itself and heads have rolled inside India. Indian media followed this up thoroughly and did not let it become a simple 24 hour news cycle event. Associated cricketers were even arrested. What are you talking about?Recommend

  • Gp65

    @Queen:
    First IPL does not come within the scope ICC’s supervision. secondly, It is India itself that identified some corrupt practices and is investigating them. The Indian media too has followed the issue up relentlessly with no attempt to brush things under the carpet. When the whole world sees that strong action is being taken in India itself, there is no story. To remond you top class players like Jadeja and Azhar were permanently banned by BCCI from first class cricket once corruption charges surfaced. India did not wait for ICC to take action. Please get some facts before making unsubstantiated allegations.

    @naila, @Mas

    There has been no statement from ICC. It is thus far only a story in British media. All your angst against India is misplaced. Najam Sethi is the one that has now asked for a thorough investigation by ICC to clear Pakistan’s name.Recommend

  • Hira

    ICC has stated clearly that they refuse to give any further statement until the matter is fully investigated. As for what Najam Sethi said on Munib’s show yesterday, there was news of Daily News journalists snooping around doing some investigation on their own, and thus far, the ICC anti-corruption unit had not spoken anything in the affirmative.

    Also those who’re taking this as a chance to blab against India, stop with this immaturity. Everything that goes wrong with Pakistan can’t possibly be India’s fault!

    Daily News should be sued if the allegations are proven incorrect. They had no right to comment on anything before anything was disclosed by the ICC itself. Recommend

  • Muhammad Ishfaq

    In the 2nd ODI Pakistani openers didn’t score a single run off bat in 5 overs. Similarly in 4th ODI Samuels and his partner ( I’m forgetting his name) were unusually slow for 4 overs.
    In the 3rd ODI, at lunch, people from all over the world betted on tie. It was an unusually large amount of money on a very unusual option. Plus Umar Akmal’s missed opportunity.
    All this is enough to raise some eyebrows.
    My point is that if we believe our boys are innocent we should welcome even demand an inquiry from ICC so that this malicious propaganda is stopped. The problem is that whenever such a scandal is surfaced at least one of our players is proved guilty so the frustration of all Pakistan cricket fans is quite understandable.
    But when the whole country collectively as a nation is involved in all sort of financial corruption without any qualms, why insist on the innocence of our cricketers.
    Let them inquire the matter and let the truth come out.Recommend

  • Ch. Allah Daad

    I remember, I read the same article when our trio was arrested in England.Recommend

  • vectra

    @Queen: No one will point a finger towards the IPl cuz within 2 weeks of fixing claims were made and that too by own Indian media (not foreign) against its own player (not foreign) arrests were made and currently all 3 players and 11 bookies are in jail and those 3 players were suspended by BCCI the moment after the arrests were made by the Delhi Police and after which BCCI issued a statement that says “an arrest by Delhi Police is enough for us to take action against the players involved in the fixing”.Not only this BCCI removed its own chief and scrap him of all powers until his name is cleared and replace him with an interim chief.This actions shows BCCI like ICC has policy which is very strict and 0 tolerance on corruption and those they do by action not by word.Recommend

  • ali

    While ICC is at it, they should also investigate the final of champions trophy. Everyone saw how England lost a match they should’ve won. Recommend

  • Ahmed

    ICC can’t digest success of Pakistan Cricket Team, simple is that :)Recommend

  • Charlie Chapatti

    Nobody accuses the Pakistan cricket team of involvement in fixing more than your average Pakistani supporter. According to them we would never have lost a single match in the history of cricket had it not been for the ones we have deliberately thrown.Recommend

  • PaksTruth

    @Np:

    What ever it’s, India is behind this and all other problems of PakistanRecommend

  • http://peddarowdy.wordpress.com Anoop

    Victimization has seeped so deep into the Pakistani psyche that everything is a conspiracy. Terror is sponsored from outsiders, Polio Vaccinations are a conspiracy, ICC and BCCI are colluding to humiliate us is something you hear every other day.

    So, the what is the best course of action?

    I don’t know about Pakistanis, but for me is to chuckle and forget about it. Its normal Human behavior to deny anything which the brain can’t process. But, denial affecting in such large numbers is very rare. Freud would have relished this.Recommend

  • Vishnu Dutta

    Wow, what double standards. Every time India wins a match all pakistani media and people start saying that it was fixed.
    Everytime pakistan was accused it was proved that either their team, umpires or officials were involved in fixing. Why dont you clean up your house first.
    No other country is so involved in international fixing and no other country whines so much. In india when fixing happened in domestic matches then india took care of itself. i think if you dont want people to blame you then fix it yourself.Recommend

  • Nas

    @Vikas:
    No chance. BCCI is busy trying to make people forget about its own fixer (sreesanth) in india, who they will eventually and quietly get back into cricket! Wonder where the ICC’s ACSU was when sreesanth got exposed?!!? Recommend

  • Gp65

    @Nas:
    Sree Santh issue was part of IPL which is a purely Indian fixture outside ICC supervision. Indian police arrested him, Indian media covered the issue and BCCI suspended him without any involvement from ICC. No one blamed Pakistan or western world or Ronald McDonald the clown. Compare this raction with PCB’s reactions when the trio were arrested.

    As far as quietly bringing him back, Azhar and Jadeja were never brought back. Unless and until the enquiry proves him as non guilty, he will never be back in Indian first class cricket. If he is proved not guilty then he deserves to come back. Either way nothing will happen through a back door or quietly as you say.Recommend

  • gp65

    @Nas: You need more awareness about what is happening in India with IPL fixing. After thorough investigation, an FIR has been filed against 30+ people including SreeSanth by Indian police. http://tribune.com.pk/story/584066/cricket-sreesanth-38-others-charged-over-ipl-fixing/

    Also note that IPL is not covered by ICC since it is a purely Indian fixture not international. Indian poice found this out, Indian media reported it and there is no whining about international conspiracies just a sincere attempt to clean up the mess.

    Thirdly even the BCCI chairman was not spared and had to step down from his post until the enquiry cleared him.

    Azharudding and Jadeja – top notch cricketers both were kept out of first class cricket for rest of their lives once they were involved in fixing.

    Compare this with what happened when the story about the trio who fixed matches in England came out and how PCB reacted. Recommend

  • PakCricFan

    Hats off to you bro! Wonderfully written, and it probably puts into words everything a Paki fan has been wondering for the past week. What I don’t get is that can’t Pakistan ever win a game? Do they always have to cheat to snatch a victory? Aren’t our talented players worth ANYTHING? Please, someone go stop the ICC. It shouldn’t even be called the International Cricket Council, it’s pretty obvious the BCCI, ECB and Cricket Australia run it.Recommend

  • Hassan

    ICC should take immediate actions on this spot-fixing issue in order to determine the truth in these indictments. The Daily Mail should be questioned about their allegations which they put forward to agitate and affront Pakistan cricket. Recommend