Time for Pakistan cricket to finally move on
On June 7, 2009 a love affair began. Pakistan cricket had supposedly found its new darling, its poster boy and its next big hero.
But Mohammad Amir returned with disappointing the figures 3-0-31-1. The Oval witnessed England thrashing Pakistan in a round-robin match of the second T20 World Cup. However, onlookers and experts predicted a bright future for this young lad from the outskirts of Rawalpindi. Alas, it wasn’t meant to be.
On February 5, 2011 the International Cricket Council tribunal announced sanctions of 10, 7 and 5 years for Salman Butt, Muhammad Asif and the young prodigy, the darling of Pakistan cricket, Mohammad Amir. In the days leading up to verdict, it had been hoped that because of his young age, Amir would be spared with a lighter sentence, but perhaps in their infinite wisdom, the tribunal decided that Amir, too, deserved no sympathy.
Cricket lovers across the globe will rue the talent of Amir that has gone to waste. Even the great Michael Holding shed tears on live television for the great career that wasn’t likely to be.
However, emotions aside, this is perhaps is the greatest opportunity for Pakistan cricket to rise from the ashes that it has been burnt to.
Pakistan needs to be pragmatic while analysing the situation and it should not be turned into an issue on the grounds that the players were targeted because they are Pakistanis. Amir’s mother’s brief appearance on television portrayed it in that unfortunate manner. However, these players, whatever they may say in their defence, have been found guilty by a tribunal – and their finding remains intact unless the Court of Arbitration for Sport concludes otherwise.
What this means for Pakistan cricket
After five months in the doldrums, Pakistan cricket can finally take solace in the fact that their “superstars” are not returning to the cricketing fold anytime soon. This provides the perfect closure for our cricket, and players can now concentrate on the game without worrying about the crises that have plagued them since last August.
The Pakistan Cricket Board should, however, make an example out of these players. If the Court of Arbitration for Sport holds good the judgment of the tribunal, there should be no return for these players – never. The Pakistani flag and the nation have been let down by their pactions. Above all, the educated former-captain Salman Butt should be condemned for his part in this controversy. But the cleansing operation should not end with these three players and the root of the problems that exist in our cricket should be addressed.
To those who are feeling dejected after the verdict, this is not the end!
This is the beginning of an era where we clean cricket will be played for the flag, more than anything else. Our emotions should not overtake the bitter reality – damning evidence was found against these players.
The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.