Ethics and morality November 4, 2008

Malik's unholy redemption

It seems there is no limit to the wonky logic that pervades Pakistan's cricket administration. The decision to lift the ban on Saleem Malik was barely supported by a whisper of reasonable argument. If that wasn't unprincipled enough, the Pakistan Cricket Board looks to have endorsed his redemption by appointing him head coach of the national academy.

Malik was a magical cricketer, sublime wrists and an eagle's eye made him a joy to watch. Imran Khan labelled him a flat-track bully but Malik outgrew those jibes to become a batsmen for a crisis. Yet he became the biggest victim of Pakistan's match-fixing inquiry, a career ended prematurely in disgrace.

The Pakistan Cricket Board's decision, if indeed it is that, is a moment of genuine sadness. Any semblance of ethical or moral responsibility has been discarded by the PCB. An appointment of this kind could only be made by an organisation devoid of integrity.

Indeed, the PCB is not the only organisation to muddle its principles. The England and Wales Cricket Board made the silly decision of hiring Mushtaq Ahmed as its spin bowling advisor. Mushtaq, for all his Sussex excellence and born-again piety, is another cricketer tainted by Pakistan's match-fixing controversy.

Mushtaq may argue that he has a stronger case for clemency than Malik. But Malik's case looks clear cut to me: he should have no part to play in international cricket. The tragedy is that Ejaz Butt's PCB seems to have done the unthinkable with unthinking, indecent haste.

Kamran Abbasi is an editor, writer and broadcaster. He tweets here