Tainted trio: Getting what they deserve

Published: November 3, 2011

Former Captain, Salman Butt has been sentenced to 30 months in jail. PHOTO: AFP

Amir has been sentenced to 6 months in jail for his part in fixing a match against England. PHOTO: AFP Former Pakistani cricketer Mohammad Asif (L) arrives at Southwark Crown Court in London, on November 3, 2011. Asif was jailed for 12 months Thursday for his part in the fixing of a Test match against England in 2010. PHOTO: AFP Former Captain, Salman Butt has been sentenced to 30 months in jail. PHOTO: AFP

No matter how hard Pakistan tries, controversy seems to dog its footsteps. It was a historic day for cricket as a major judgement came forth regarding the spot-fixing scandal. 

The verdict: Salman Butt and Muhammad Asif have been sentenced to 30 months and one year in jail respectively, whereas Muhammad Amir, who pleaded guilty, was sentenced to six months. The once loved cricketers were found guilty of conspiracy to cheat and conspiracy to obtain and accept corrupt payments. This is such a massive and unnecessary tragedy that an already depressed nation did not need to suffer.

What is even more tragic is that the trio had tremendous potential. Asif and Amir were a force to reckon with. They could have led Pakistan to new heights in world cricket but they conspired with Mazhar Majeed to deliver no balls at precise times during the England tour, last year.

Pakistan should have been celebrating the Test win against Sri Lanka and a promotion in the ICC Test rankings, but now the final test match will begin with talks about the verdict and news that ASCU is investigating the team.

I find it terribly disheartening to observe how the Pakistani team-mates turned on each other when it came to saving their own skins. Asif’s testimony clearly showed that he was throwing Salman Butt under the bus. The term ‘team’ and the phrase ‘I got your back’ seems to mean nothing to our nation any more.

“The captain knows. What I have told you the last two days…the captain knows. He is the one who brings them (bowlers) on” said Asif.

Ordinary citizens in Pakistan are deeply devastated with the scandal. To see people they trusted with their country’s colours tarnishing their nation with such blatant disregard has left many bitter and disgusted. One shopkeeper spat “the should be hung” without the slightest hint of mercy while another asid “It should’ve been 20 years instead. They’ve disgraced the whole nation.”

All I can say is that it is a good thing that the trio will not be serving their sentence in Pakistan because they would have been retuning to a country where people are mortified by their deeds and are fuming with vengeance.

I am not sure how to react to this news myself. As a cricket enthusiast, I had been hoping that Amir would be found not guilty and would be seen back on the field after serving his ban. I still watch YouTube videos of some of his deliveries that left batsmen bamboozled.

However, his plea shattered that dream.

This should be a new dawn for Pakistan cricket. Now, we can leave the debate of whether the bans were justified or not behind and move on. Reactions from former players suggest relief as well. Zaheer Abbas said:

‘I am sad about what has happened because it involves sportsmen, but at the same time I think justice has been done because if you do something wrong you pay the price.’

Fixing has been associated with Pakistan cricket for quite some time and the Qayuum report had banned and fined players a few years ago as well. But the PCB failed to take any action in this regard and the cancer spread. Now, we have lost young talents. I just hope that the current board takes notice of this verdict and places checks and balances that prevent future talents from being wasted because of this, unlike the previous boards.

In the meantime, let’s hope that we can unearth more talents like Amir and Asif. Junaid Khan is one to look forward to.

Dr Amyn Malyk

Dr Amyn Malik

The author is a PhD student at Emory University Rollins School of Public Health. He is a former Fulbright Scholar who likes to write. He tweets as @amynmalik

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