Inzy takes the rap
The Pakistan cricket board of inquiry has delivered its verdict: It was all Inzy’s fault. Yes there were a few nuances like the board itself messed up preparations for the World Cup, an amusing conclusion since sitting judge Salim Altaf was one of those who presided over the campaign. And, as is traditional of Pakistani inquiries of this nature, there was no evidence of match fixing or spot fixing or fixing anything in particular.
It was thoroughly decent of the inquiry to get the sordid business of the World Cup out of the way before Pakistan toss off against Sri Lanka. Now Shoaib Malik’s team can think about the job of resurrecting Pakistan as a competitive cricket team—which is exactly what they were a year ago.
The rot set in during the tour of England when Inzy’s troublesome ways were being openly discussed by people close to the team. The cricket board, of course, should have managed Inzamam to maximise the chances of Pakistan winning the World Cup, instead Dr Ashraf spent his time maximising his own chances of remaining chairman of the board.
Hence, while Inzy must take a fair share of the blame for the disaster, the strength of the inquiry’s damnation is somewhat out of proportion with Inzy’s sin. An employee only persists in destructive behaviour if an employer allows him to. The World Cup failure was as much down to Dr Ashraf as it was dictated by Mr ul Haq.
Which leaves us wondering where Inzy goes next? How much of this can a man take? This winter has to be his last in Pakistan colours. Whether he plays one Test, one series, or one full domestic season of international cricket, Inzamam ul-Haq must name his date to go—and stick to it. A time limit will help the succession and let’s hope it helps restore his dignity.
Careers are marked with successes and failures, rights and wrongs, blame and absolution, heroes become villains, and villains become scapegoats. The end should be a moment to celebrate, but to celebrate properly we have to know when the end will come.
Kamran Abbasi is an editor, writer and broadcaster. He tweets here