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.