Is it justified for the Pakistan cricket team to not welcome the trio?
The ban of Mohammad Amir, Mohammad Asif and Salman Butt has not ended yet. In the eyes of the ICC, the trio can play international cricket, after considering their offences serious enough to ban them for five years. Eventually, it comes down to Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) to select them in domestic or international cricket, or both.
But who takes the final decision?
The chairman, the selection committee or the captains of all formats?
Or the player who coached them in the 2010 England tour?
Or the prime minister himself, who is also the patron-in-chief?
Or the head of PCB executive committee?
The decision has found its share of support and criticism; no one will openly take responsibility on this matter, thus the debate continues. Since some players in the current team have expressed that they wouldn’t want to play with the trio, it can be easy for PCB to use this reason alone for snubbing the three players.
We should definitely give weight to how the players of the current team feel. The needless reaction by Asif will worsen the situation for himself, as cricket is played as a team; it’s not just about him or a team of three guys, and hence PCB has rightly asked him to cool down.
The current squad was part of the 2010 tour, thus they know the exact scenario more than Scotland Yard or the ICC would know. The occurrence of events like the Mumbai attack in 2008 and attack on the Sri Lankan team in 2009, meant no Indian Premiere League (IPL), Indo-Pak series or cricket will be played in Pakistan; 2009-10 tour of Australia (the seniors were punished and the team was disunited) and 2010 England tour affected our cricket regardless of whoever was responsible.
After the England tour, we fortunately found a captain who won most of the Test matches for Pakistan and several series too, we have a wicket keeper who is not an Akmal, we have played international cricket at home, and recently showed improvement in fielding. Our nation is fighting against terrorism and corruption. There is a different environment and a better image is emerging of Pakistan.
Three captains for three formats means different opinions regarding the trio. Misbahul Haq and Shahid Afridi in the twilight of their careers would not probably want them back. Afridi and Salman have publicly spoken against each other. For Salman,
“You don’t become a dad when you become captain.”
When thinking of giving them a second chance, we have a lot of things on our mind, like their talent; Asif and Amir’s comparison with Glenn McGrath and Wasim Akram respectively, Amir’s age, Salman’s extra responsibility as captain, Asif’s track record which would make this his fourth, rather than second chance.
Performance is not the main question here, as they can perform again or even their replacements can. Welcoming them back is a reformist approach, but whenever we win because of them, it will result in debates. Moreover, whenever we lose, they will be blamed. Some might play politics within the team to have them dropped. Hence, allowing them to play domestic cricket would only result in a no-win situation.
Who plays domestic cricket knowing he cannot play international cricket?
It would show a personal bias against them, rather than any national interest.
Compared to other cases around the world, this was highlighted the most by the media.
Two wrongs don’t make a right. PCB has to decide what’s in its control.
Would you judge their patriotism or are you going to judge those who gave them the general amnesty?
Or would you just think about the players’ names? Was it even an offence?
What if a corrupt politician is disqualified for some years and then is allowed to contest elections. Would you still want him back?
Under Article 63(1) (g) of our Constitution, only lapsing of five years from release from a sentence ends the disqualification – so it’s during this time that the person repents more than he does during the span of his sentence. Similarly, it is now that they will truly repent, when they miss matches, despite the end of their bans.
It might be preferable to keep them away from cricket, but not implement permanent condemnation, as they have served their punishments. They should be welcomed in anything if not cricket.
How about the prime minister and patron-in-chief call for a referendum?
Amir’s early confession and repentance, rather than his age, are still important and it has probably been decided already.
The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.