Pakistan cricket January 5, 2011

Forsaken trio face toughest test

In the middle of last year, three men held the future of Pakistan cricket in their hands. A young captain in command of possibly the most compelling new-ball partnership in world cricket
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In the middle of last year, three men held the future of Pakistan cricket in their hands. A young captain in command of possibly the most compelling new-ball partnership in world cricket. A triumverate that might save Pakistan cricket from implosion. Instead Salman Butt, Mohammad Asif, and Mohammad Amir face calamity. Pakistan cricket is once more on the brink of disgrace.

The three players have responded to adversity in very different ways. Butt has been most vocal with shifting statements of bravado, innocence, and counter accusation. Amir has spoken up too, but generally to extract sympathy for his plight, describing the current proceedings as the toughest test of his career. Meanwhile, Asif has been monkish in his silence. The differences reflect their personalities to some degree but are probably most indicative of the legal advice they have received.

Their cricket board, for its part, after an embarrassment of bluster has virtually abandoned the defendants. Bluster comes easily to Pakistan cricket administrators and politicians, hence this dramatic change, after the intervention of the ICC to improve anti-corruption mechanisms within Pakistan cricket, presents a bleak outlook for Butt and his fellows. The present and future of Pakistan cricket forsaken on a nod, wink, and slap from the ICC.

With the reputation of Pakistan cricket about to be dragged through another gutter, whatever the outcome of the Doha tribunal, the cricket board should not be allowed to slip into the shadows so easily.

Players are responsible for their individual actions and, at the very least, for the friends they choose and whose advice they follow, but it is the PCB that facilitated the creation of a necrotic environment around the national team. The PCB and its chairman have survived this scandal relatively unscathed. Ironically, the instability of the current Pakistan government is a bigger threat to the current PCB regime than any sanction from ICC.

The Doha tribunal is the first test of the ICC's new anti-corruption code. Video recordings present worrying evidence against the players. Haroon Lorgat, ICC chief, is determined to flex his muscles. His organisation has never deviated from its determination to prosecute. What would be the ramifications for the integrity of international cricket of a failed case against spot-fixing? The ICC must have thought this one through, and supporters of the three cricketers should not expect good-news verdicts.

On the face of it, Butt is in the deepest trouble. He was the closest associate of Mazhar Majeed. Pakistan's bowlers were under his instruction. He had the most money in his room. Subsequently, Butt has made the most noise. His is the key verdict. If Butt is cleared then so must be his fellows. Equally, Butt could fall alone or earn the harshest punishment.

Asif's record of previous indiscretions, one of which is the reason why the hearing must be held in Doha and not Dubai, places him in a precarious position. Serial offenders, whatever the offences, can expect to be more severely punished. A further ban could leave Asif with insufficient time and heart to stage another comeback.

Which leaves Amir with the best prospect of leaving Doha with an opportunity of resurrecting his career in international cricket. Leaked testimonies of Waqar Younis and Shahid Afridi certainly suggest that possibility. The ICC can deliver life bans or less severe punishments depending on degree of involvement, and Amir will probably seek to argue complete ignorance of any spot-fixing arrangement even if that charge is proven against others.

Yet no true cricket supporter should seek clemency simply because of affection for Pakistan cricket or any individual cricketer. Nor should people seek punishment for the forsaken trio because of any distrust of Pakistan or its cricketers. A just verdict based on the evidence and devoid of emotion is essential.

Indeed, the three players are not the only ones on trial in Doha. By proxy, the PCB's failed system of governance is under scrutiny, as is the fairness of the ICC's new anti-corruption code. Whichever way Michael Beloff's hammer falls, one conclusion is predetermined: the integrity of cricket can only be further damaged by the events that will unfold in Doha.

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

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Shafiq on March 6, 2011, 10:57 GMT

    There are so many different strands of opinion in this case. In my view the right course is to see the evidence and then decide on the guilt in a proper forum. The author is right in his view of the PCB. One thing is certain that PCB and the Pakistan High Commissioner are not going to have any influence on the case that is going to be decided in the UK. That is the real crunch decision. It has nothing to do with one's sympathy or favour. First thing first. Are they guilty. My view after looking at the situation is that they are, albeit, to varying degrees. Worst still, they are not going to escape justice in the UK, because the people involved are hard headed professionals and they do their job well. The Police investigates, the Prosecuting set up looks at the evidence and decides if there is evidence to warrant conviction. I do not expect them coming out of the court smiling. I do not think they will appear in front of the court in the UK. If they do,the writing is on the wall. Shafi

  • fazal on January 12, 2011, 18:13 GMT

    It appears that gulf between players and PCB is wider then anticipated. PCB under the leadership of current chiarman has touched the zenith of the depths ever imagined. It is the duty of PCB to nurture the players and be responsible for their actions. Secondly if needed PCB should assume the role of umbrella to cover their players as the other boards do. But neither PCB could brought up the players to play gentlemen game nor been able to protect their players in hour of need. So much money is utilized on up keep of the board and all the people working in it, but we dont invest in up bringing of the players to instill a sense of pride and honour in them. The race to become rich over night has simple decimated any kind of honour in most of our players and PCB is directly responsible for this situation.

  • Imran on January 11, 2011, 17:36 GMT

    Hope and pray, our cricketers understand that playing for your Country is a great pride. It is not a free pass to anything and everthing. Some day we will set good examples to the World also and I truely hope so. Yes we love to see atleast Aamir in the World cup for Pakistan, one last chance should be given to him.

  • wazim on January 7, 2011, 16:00 GMT

    I'm a Srilankan....saw Aamer bowling and I went mashallah..please save this talent from whatever calamity that can befall.... I guess this is a test for Aamer..may Allah help him...he had pace , touched 150kph, he had swing, he wasn't a bowler who bowled the same delivery over and over again....he was versatile....had a good cricketing brain... :(

  • M.Adeel on January 6, 2011, 17:40 GMT

    the statement of amir that he's expecting to receive some sympathy from the hearing committee, said it all. i think this is a great setback to pakistan cricket and its preparations to WC. but as right put in the article, why the PCB administration can't be held responsible for any of the wrong doings. that is something that i just can't understand at the movement

  • Sajid Rana on January 6, 2011, 17:15 GMT

    As a Pakistani, I need a fair hearing, nothing else. However, if we Pakistani felt that there is some politics involved in the verdict then India knows so does the rest of the world that we can get even.

  • mandi on January 6, 2011, 16:42 GMT

    i hope for a fair judgment, if players found guilty award them best possible punishment

  • Ali on January 6, 2011, 15:49 GMT

    i dont fnk thr'l b a positive result for trio nd if thy hv done some wrong doing thy shld be punished ... but i wld like to ask Mr. abbasi if he can answer me (which i'm sure he wont) ... y thr's no suspension/punishment or hearing for Raina ? as to my knowledge there was a proof against him for a match fixing but we never heard nyfng on the news nor hv i seen you writing a blog or article abt it ..

  • Irfan on January 6, 2011, 15:05 GMT

    If found guilty, these 3 players should be given life bans at the very least.

    Its a shame some of the great Pakistan players form the 90's who were notoriously involved in match fixing have not only got away with it but are treated like heroes and hold responsible jobs in cricket (Wasim Akram, Ijaz Ahmed, Mushtaq Ahmed, Waqar Younis).

    If these guys were punished back then, maybe Pakistan cricket might not have been in such a sorry state as it is now.

  • cricinfofan on January 6, 2011, 14:59 GMT

    Guys, do you really think these trio deserver any sympathy? Are they babies with feeding bottle up their mouth for not knowing what is right or wrong? You don't sympathize 'coz someone is talented. They brought disrepute to the lovely game of cricket. ICC should beat the shit out of these guys and the jokers at the helm of PCB. Even then there is no guarantee that another offence will not be committed by the players and I only wish that they don't, during the world cup games.

  • Shafiq on March 6, 2011, 10:57 GMT

    There are so many different strands of opinion in this case. In my view the right course is to see the evidence and then decide on the guilt in a proper forum. The author is right in his view of the PCB. One thing is certain that PCB and the Pakistan High Commissioner are not going to have any influence on the case that is going to be decided in the UK. That is the real crunch decision. It has nothing to do with one's sympathy or favour. First thing first. Are they guilty. My view after looking at the situation is that they are, albeit, to varying degrees. Worst still, they are not going to escape justice in the UK, because the people involved are hard headed professionals and they do their job well. The Police investigates, the Prosecuting set up looks at the evidence and decides if there is evidence to warrant conviction. I do not expect them coming out of the court smiling. I do not think they will appear in front of the court in the UK. If they do,the writing is on the wall. Shafi

  • fazal on January 12, 2011, 18:13 GMT

    It appears that gulf between players and PCB is wider then anticipated. PCB under the leadership of current chiarman has touched the zenith of the depths ever imagined. It is the duty of PCB to nurture the players and be responsible for their actions. Secondly if needed PCB should assume the role of umbrella to cover their players as the other boards do. But neither PCB could brought up the players to play gentlemen game nor been able to protect their players in hour of need. So much money is utilized on up keep of the board and all the people working in it, but we dont invest in up bringing of the players to instill a sense of pride and honour in them. The race to become rich over night has simple decimated any kind of honour in most of our players and PCB is directly responsible for this situation.

  • Imran on January 11, 2011, 17:36 GMT

    Hope and pray, our cricketers understand that playing for your Country is a great pride. It is not a free pass to anything and everthing. Some day we will set good examples to the World also and I truely hope so. Yes we love to see atleast Aamir in the World cup for Pakistan, one last chance should be given to him.

  • wazim on January 7, 2011, 16:00 GMT

    I'm a Srilankan....saw Aamer bowling and I went mashallah..please save this talent from whatever calamity that can befall.... I guess this is a test for Aamer..may Allah help him...he had pace , touched 150kph, he had swing, he wasn't a bowler who bowled the same delivery over and over again....he was versatile....had a good cricketing brain... :(

  • M.Adeel on January 6, 2011, 17:40 GMT

    the statement of amir that he's expecting to receive some sympathy from the hearing committee, said it all. i think this is a great setback to pakistan cricket and its preparations to WC. but as right put in the article, why the PCB administration can't be held responsible for any of the wrong doings. that is something that i just can't understand at the movement

  • Sajid Rana on January 6, 2011, 17:15 GMT

    As a Pakistani, I need a fair hearing, nothing else. However, if we Pakistani felt that there is some politics involved in the verdict then India knows so does the rest of the world that we can get even.

  • mandi on January 6, 2011, 16:42 GMT

    i hope for a fair judgment, if players found guilty award them best possible punishment

  • Ali on January 6, 2011, 15:49 GMT

    i dont fnk thr'l b a positive result for trio nd if thy hv done some wrong doing thy shld be punished ... but i wld like to ask Mr. abbasi if he can answer me (which i'm sure he wont) ... y thr's no suspension/punishment or hearing for Raina ? as to my knowledge there was a proof against him for a match fixing but we never heard nyfng on the news nor hv i seen you writing a blog or article abt it ..

  • Irfan on January 6, 2011, 15:05 GMT

    If found guilty, these 3 players should be given life bans at the very least.

    Its a shame some of the great Pakistan players form the 90's who were notoriously involved in match fixing have not only got away with it but are treated like heroes and hold responsible jobs in cricket (Wasim Akram, Ijaz Ahmed, Mushtaq Ahmed, Waqar Younis).

    If these guys were punished back then, maybe Pakistan cricket might not have been in such a sorry state as it is now.

  • cricinfofan on January 6, 2011, 14:59 GMT

    Guys, do you really think these trio deserver any sympathy? Are they babies with feeding bottle up their mouth for not knowing what is right or wrong? You don't sympathize 'coz someone is talented. They brought disrepute to the lovely game of cricket. ICC should beat the shit out of these guys and the jokers at the helm of PCB. Even then there is no guarantee that another offence will not be committed by the players and I only wish that they don't, during the world cup games.

  • Dr. Mubashir Hanif on January 6, 2011, 14:56 GMT

    Assalamoalikum!Absolutely Kami bhai, we need justice at all levels. Can you/we assure it here?Just like you raise the question of PCB, I also raise some. What about the cricket bullies?Why is Pakistan being scapegoat yet again?Will ICC be neutral towards other culprits too?Why is ICC quite on ignoring Pakistan from T20, IPL since 2007?Why does ICC have double standards?who is going to make sure that ICC is Just?Who is going to judge the judges in this case?I am not saying these guys are innocent, Lord almighty knows, but my heart says that they have been trapped cheaply as they come straight from street cricket. I have my doubts about getting justice here based on above facts, believe me I want these guys to be punished if they are guilty but at the same time I want that ICC is not biased towards other nations just because we have corrupt PCB and ruling elite back home since decades and no one to educate these guys and back them up. Might is right Pakistan will never go down peace

  • Aftab Qureshi on January 6, 2011, 14:53 GMT

    I have no sympathy with any one who accepts money to help fix a game. But equally, I dont like judgments being made before the judge has ruled. I would like to see Aamir being pardoned--that is if his crime is proven--but people like Asif, howsoever great a bowler he is, are habitual offenders. He belongs to the dust bin, so does Salman Butt because he seems both unclean and incompetent as a cricketer and captain.

  • Mohammad Asad on January 6, 2011, 14:47 GMT

    Mohammad Asad from USA ...........................................

    Good steps from ICC against the corruption in the game. Anyway all the best for them !!!!

  • Pathan on January 6, 2011, 14:43 GMT

    Amir may be completely innocent of any charges. It may be the case that he bowled the no ball on the orders of the captain to push the batsman onto the backfoot as Salman Butt claimed. Amir may not have known of the more sinister reason - he may have ust been following orders. The NEWS OF THE WORLD money that was found in Amir's room may have been payment from Salman Butt/Mazhar to Amir for the opening of an ice-cream parlour in South London.

    So, it may be that Amir was completely oblivious to the whole thing?? I really hope thats the case.

  • Tamil on January 6, 2011, 14:17 GMT

    Kamran bhai, why didn't you post my comment, indeed I was 1st one to post the comment on this topic???

    Topic: If they found innocent, who will punish ICC/BCCI/etc.? because they might have spoiled Pak cricket, future of the trio, reduced chances for PAK winning WC2011 (don't say can't win, they proved in 2009 T20 WC with similar disruptions).

  • Adeel Hasan on January 6, 2011, 14:15 GMT

    I want Aamer and Aasif to be proven innocent! I hope, wish and pray that they escape any brutal punishment!

    Whatever the verdict, maybe - I sincerely hope that Ijaz Butt quits PCB at the soonest - he is the worst thing to have happened to Pakistan cricket in recent years.

  • A.Ali on January 6, 2011, 14:07 GMT

    I am not suggesting that these guys are involved or not involved in spot-fixing. In my openion this case will not go very far in court of law. ICC tribunal is not court of law. There is no proof that the video is genuine. The video could have been recorded after the fact and time stamp on the video can be adjusted by setting the camera clock backwards. I am advanced computer programmer and I know how to do this.

  • noor on January 6, 2011, 13:40 GMT

    I Have Sympathy only Wit Amir Becoz he is very young, He is misleaded with his captn an new ball partner asif, Forgot about but&asif ,Pakistan has lot of new talent,PCB Shouuld guid them to proper way like Indian Board

  • nak on January 6, 2011, 13:39 GMT

    i think the board president izaz butt is the conniving factor before this whole fiasco that is why he did not want younis khan and yousuf as captain he wanted young captains like shoib and butt who could be manipulated

  • Abdur Rahman on January 6, 2011, 13:11 GMT

    Bowlers are with in captain's command, especially if he's just 18 years of age. The picture shown on cricinfo that Butt is desperately watching aamir overstepping shows this all. Aamir should not be punished at all. Asif for a year or two. Butt for years atleast.

    But ICC is not a good fan of pakistan cricket, their tribunal and Haroon logart both are biased. So they will punish these players on lesser charges than on the players of other country's who were not even temporarily banned.

    ICC is biased frieds, so expect worst decision.

  • Bilal Saeed on January 6, 2011, 12:41 GMT

    Well said sir.

    No one should be allowed to walk off free if they have committed a crime no matter what.If they indeed are culpable of such stupidity then they should be punished accordingly and moreso to set an example for generations to come. Would be really sad to see the AAs to be banned but they only have themselves to blame.

    The infamous tour of England was pretty much about those 2 bowlers, batting was shambolic so rather not talk about it. The results just show how far ahead those 2 were of the competition as they literally single-handedly tunred around matches for pakistan. If only they had support from batting and fielding, a series win against both England and Australia was very likely.

    The current bowling attack im afraid won't even pose a threat to the likes of NZ and Bangladesh.

  • Fayyaz on January 6, 2011, 12:39 GMT

    All this talk about Amir's previous unblemised record is stupid. He is only 18. If he had been playing for ten years with a great record then fine, but he is young, and took the first opportunity to cheat the game he could. I love how talented he is, but if he gets off, that sends a message that talented people can cheat and get away with it, which is disgraceful. If they are all found guilty, they should all face life bans. And if Amir is found guilty, but allowed to keep playing, crowds should boycott.

  • Surinder on January 6, 2011, 12:31 GMT

    Some times bowlers bowls the no ball or wide ball on instruction of captain just to deviate the concentration of batsman. Is it not the same case and shows only the involvement of Salman Butt in the spot fixing.

  • MUBARIK QADARI on January 6, 2011, 12:21 GMT

    i thin Aamer is innocent

  • asimations on January 6, 2011, 11:24 GMT

    i have sympathy for pak public who are so forgetful. At least i am fedup of the mercurial performances. Even doubtful players should be banned for life. If strict or one may say harsh approach is not taken our generations to come will play for money and not for pride.

  • Shahid on January 6, 2011, 11:19 GMT

    The system is rotten. Now if you take the word disgrace of being banned out of the equation, can anybody tell me that how an ICC code can be fair when only punishment they can award, is a ban. That means, dont fix matches when you are young but you are free to do it if you are 35 and at the end of your shelf life.

  • ASIF MEHMOOD on January 6, 2011, 10:40 GMT

    i hope thay will win this case m praying for all these three

  • Hammad on January 6, 2011, 10:04 GMT

    I am sympathy for these players and also pray for them... pakistan badly need of these kind of players

  • Hamid on January 6, 2011, 9:07 GMT

    ICC should keep ONE standard for all. I hope they will treat these guys the way they treated shane warne and mark waugh ... Ricky ponting and co escaped with mild penalties but sree was not so lucky yesterday come on ICC there have to be uniform policies for all.

  • AntiCheat on January 6, 2011, 8:18 GMT

    A crime is crime irrespective of who does it. We need Honest and Truthful Cricketers. Talents in Pakistan is abundant. Newer Aameer's and Asif's will come easily but to have them honest we need the present ones to be Punished without any leeways if found Guilty..

  • Mir on January 6, 2011, 7:31 GMT

    I fail to understand why we keep on highlighting Amir`s age and lack of experience. He is an adult , and should be held accountable . There are many bowlers in Pakistan who can take up his place.

    If the trio is found guilty , they should be banned for life period. Harsh this may sound , but only such strong decisions will put back Pakistan cricket and its reputation on the right path.

  • mirza on January 6, 2011, 6:30 GMT

    I Have Sympathyn Wit Amir Becz he so talented hope he is cleared to play may god bless him

  • Faheem Imtiaz on January 6, 2011, 5:52 GMT

    Talent we have in abundance if we search it No one should be allowed to defame its country. I think its also the responsibility of PCB to ban the guilty. Cant face disgrace of Pakistan just for talented players and winning matches. Ban these and we will find others inshaALLAH much loyal to their country, and much better than others.

  • Rehan on January 6, 2011, 5:47 GMT

    Butt is in deep trouble specially after Waqar Younis statement. When Benn refused to obey his captain he was ordered to leave the field so one has to do what skipper asks, Amir did what Butt told him.

  • Saud Sami on January 6, 2011, 5:43 GMT

    " A just verdict based on the evidence and devoid of emotion is essential."

    I completely agree with the above statement but do you really believe that in a hearing where the ICC is presenting the case against the accused in front of a committee hand picked by itself and consisting of people who benefit from their association with the ICC this would be possible? Ans don't forget that Mr. Lorgat, the boss of the people in the committe has already made his wishes known.

  • Shaik Ubaid on January 6, 2011, 5:37 GMT

    The only way Butt can survive is doing what Pakistani politicians including the PCB bosses do. Mix religion with conspiracy theories. He instructed the bowlers to bowl the no-balls because an aamil (witch doctor cum astrologer, common in south Asia) suggested to him that this would bring good luck. The conspiracy is that the aamil was on the payroll of the bookie and the bookie being the agent of Butt introduced the aamil to the captain. Why was Butt paid by the bookie? Well because the bookie invested a little money in Butt to make a whole lot more from the shady journalist! Mind boggling? but hey thats the PCB way - mind boggling. and it is the sure way of going scott free- invoke the freedom of religion! Most sportsmen are superstitious and many act irrationally. just ask asif! So Butt was being a typical sportsman!

  • cricket lover on January 6, 2011, 5:08 GMT

    i fully agree. justice should be done but some how i don't think it would be. an icc precedent must be set and i suspect aamir might get off lightly compared to other 2. if found guilty, salam butt should be banned for 10yrs because he was the captain, and asif for 7yrs because he has treaded the fine line far too often. Aamir, for 3yrs and a heavy fine. After 3yrs he should be considered and if selected should be monitored very closley.

  • Usman on January 6, 2011, 5:02 GMT

    Despite being from Pakistan, I do not in any way feel that this trio should be left unscathed. They should be punished for their doings. May be Amir was un-aware of spot fixing and bowled a no ball on the instructions of his captain. But how can someone justify an intentional no ball? For me its a dishonesty against cricket, its followers n top of all against the nation one represents. Its this attitude that we as a nation are suffering. We need to realize/act for a WRONG is WRONG and will/shall be punished, whatsoever and who ever is involved, let it be the Prime Minister. It might be heart breaking that we do bad in the world cup but it will be heartening that we tried our honest best. Instead of looking towards cheats its a high time to start punishing them so that others dont fell in the same trap. Get a proper n a honest system to run the institution and we will see a lot of Asifs n Amirs come through.

  • MCAG on January 6, 2011, 4:52 GMT

    Lets be fair. If proven, all three should be punished. Aamer's 19. He's no kid. Why all the hue and cry for his clemency? Life bans, if proven guilty. I wouldn't mind seeing a few million in fines either (to go along with the bans). Cheers.

  • Arshad on January 6, 2011, 4:39 GMT

    I get the feeling Asif is too cunning to get indicted, so he might be let go. I am primarily going by his choice for lawyer with a last name of Cameron. Salman is sly too, but he is in too deep. Amir seems the most innocent of the lot, but if justice plays mentally blind, he could end up on either extreme.

  • kabir on January 6, 2011, 4:31 GMT

    Well said. I think Amir wil be unlucky if he gets a harsh punishment. Imagine, first tour and the captain specifically asks you to deliver a No Ball -- of course you will ! no questions asked. Amir's case is similair to a sentry in the army who followed orders from a corrupt general !

  • Bilal usa on January 6, 2011, 3:07 GMT

    Amir is simply NOT guilty. It's a pity that how he was setup. He's too young to know anything, this I the age when most boys in our societies make huge mistakes. PCB needs to do more to teach the youngsters, Pakistan is the land of fast bowlers and reverse swing kings. I know many Indians will try to come and write about their phony bowlers, keep thy crap to urself and hush it lest u ain't gonna b able to c that dumb ad before while and after ur ipl game as I hear from other grouchy Indians.

    Amir is going to get small punishment and will then start ripping apart the teams as he always did "AGAIN".

  • Arshad on January 6, 2011, 2:56 GMT

    Pakistani cricket needs to clean its act. For long some of the players and the administrators have got away with so much.

    I remember one Pak cricketer claiming a catch when he knew that he had dropped the ball. And I saw his cynical smile when he got away with it.

    For heavens sake please come back. The talent of the Pak cricket is palpable and it is so sad that actions of few is destroying this great cricketing tradition.

  • Shahbaz,from Dubai on January 6, 2011, 2:44 GMT

    Icc never punished or banned any single plyer in past of cricket histoy ,pcb should be clear the scandle and save cricket carrer of those players specially Amer he yong and talented i have sympathy with him..let see what happens.

  • sheru on January 6, 2011, 2:37 GMT

    I want asif and amir to join pak team back for the world cup. As far as butt is concerned I have no feelings for him whast so ever. We dotn need butt he is the one who took money so he can arrange his sisters wedding. Butt is culprit he should be life ban but i hope amir name should be clear.

  • Haroon on January 6, 2011, 2:12 GMT

    I saw the press conference many times after scottland yard visited Pakistan Captain Salman Butt rooms. Salman Butt was worried but very firm in proving his innocence, when one of the reporter asked him that Yawar Saeed is the ring leader of this whole thing, and if Scottland yard searced their rooms. Yawar Saeed could not hear what reporter said because of his hearing problem, and Salman Butt repeated in Urdu to Yawar Saeed what the reporter said, and Butt laughed on the ring leader comments. I thought at that moment that at least Salman Butt will be able to prove his innocence, because he will not be laughing if he was guilty by any chance.

    I still wish and believe that they would be proven not guilty. It is the scam to target Pakistan Cricket and Pakistan players. It is the weakness of PCB and Ijaz Butt's personality that how he portrays Pakistan cricket Board in ICC or other boards. They did not back their players at all in this whole issue.

  • Nadeem Sharifuddin on January 6, 2011, 2:00 GMT

    I think PCB has nothing to do with this spot fixing. Its individual players who do wrong things by themseleves or as a group. In my view the Captain should be held responsible for spot fixing and new comers should not be blamed becuase of grouping in the team and new comers just do what captain says.

    Best way is to punish Butt for 7 years , Asif for 5 years and Amir for 2 years becuase he is not mature enough to take decsions.

    All three and any body else should be accounted for their deeds with extreme punishment so that next generation can take example out of that.

    Disgraceful act by all three.

  • Naeem Butt on January 6, 2011, 1:47 GMT

    In my opinion, Aamir is the only one with a chance of a short sentence, and probably will able to resurrect his International career. Salman Butt being the Captain is down for counting, and Asif will need a miracle to wriggle out of this one.

  • Saad on January 6, 2011, 1:41 GMT

    I think, no mercy should be shown to anyone, regardless of age. If proven guilty, they should not only be banned for life from playing cricket, but should also face criminal charges. ICC should set an example for spot-fixers.

  • malik on January 6, 2011, 1:15 GMT

    Please keep Aaamir at least !! Wish good luck for him .. We want him backkkkkkkk

  • Muhammad A Ali on January 6, 2011, 1:13 GMT

    Everybody is talking about cricket's reputation and not about three individuals. I also believe if trio found guilty must be punished accordingly. But I also believe ICC must have waited for Scotland Yard's decision about these allegations before any jusdgement is made. Fingers crossed, let's hope these players aren't guilty and can join the Pak team and bring smile to Pak fans.

  • Khan on January 5, 2011, 23:52 GMT

    well written and illustrated.....there is not much hope from the doha hearings...I wonder how Kamran Akmal has been escaped...We want Pakistan Cricket free of corruption... End of careers for these three will send a strong message.

  • Yas on January 5, 2011, 23:19 GMT

    Wake up guys, if found guilty the trio will be getting life bans from all forms of cricket, anything less will be a disgrace. Make no mistake about it the ICC will make an example of these boys. Corruption in cricket is very hard to spot and almost impossible to prove. This is a golden opportunity for the governing body to show the sporting world they can control and manage “the gentlemen’s game”. Like all of you I am also a lifelong Pakistan Cricket supporter, like you I also the see lose of the new ball bowlers. However we have to put our emotions to a side an take a good hard look at the whole picture, how many times like me have you watch something transpiring on field that has left you gobsmacked, confused, angered and just disgraced? Sure no one is guilty until proven otherwise however if by some miracle this lot do manage to survive, you have to admit surely there is a problem somewhere! Surely it can’t be just these three?

  • truecricfan on January 5, 2011, 23:06 GMT

    I think if found guilty 1-2 years ban is enough...They are only being accused of spot fixing...there have been players that have been doing match fixing and they were still able to continue with their careers........Although praying for them especially for the bowling pair.......With them in the team our bowling attack is one of the best in the world

  • Haroon on January 5, 2011, 22:59 GMT

    I think we'll be worse off for letting them go. I would like to see a sociologist provide a defense. Someone who can contextualize their background. Why not prefer mercy over wrath? I think those at the helm, the octogenarians running the show should be punished if at all. (ICC won't because it consists of the boards' presidents). The boards should get their house in order and so should ICC. These organizations are not democratic. Just look at where Aamir and Asif have come from. These are really backward areas where all that matters is survival, and that too in an environment where nepotism, bribery, looting and killing is the order of the day. It was PCB's duty to care for its cricketers as human beings, not just as cricketers for profit, to groom them as representatives of this country and perhaps to direct them to a better education and possibility of a responsible life; and, importantly PCB should have shown understanding of the cultural shock they would be going through.

  • Sikandar on January 5, 2011, 22:17 GMT

    If you're a true Pakistan cricket fan - and I certainly count myself as one - you should hope that the guilty are punished severely, ESPECIALLY because they're so talented. We Pakistanis tend to sympathize with players because they win us matches, but we need to realize there's things more important than winning.

    If found guilty, I'm hoping Asif and Butt get at least five year suspensions and Amir gets at least one year.

  • Shahid on January 5, 2011, 22:16 GMT

    This whole situation is quite confusing. Why these players were suspended just on a newspaper report? when the charges weren't even finalized. Why this tribunal couldn't complete its hearing before the announcement of the WC squad. If the trio is cleared of all the charges, will they be allowed to be part of the WC squad?

  • DonOfTheWorld on January 5, 2011, 22:15 GMT

    Great article. If anyone will be proved guilty then he must be punished. First the question rises about the authenticity of evidences. If they are authentic then how the bowlers becomes the part of it as nothing can happen without captain so Mr. Butt is already in trouble. M. Asif & M. Amir could be on the safe side because there could be some motives (forced) or like life threats.

    Still can't say more on it. Hope they will be cleared. All the best.

  • Suleyman Shah on January 5, 2011, 22:06 GMT

    I really want Amir and Asif come back, there is only a certain amount that I can take as a fan, and this really took it to the limits. I really can't tollerate seeing us get annihilated time after time knowing it could be fixed. 10 years ago Pakistan was at its peak, AT ITS PEAK! Finding talent shouldn't be taken for granted, and I think Amir should be brought back, maybe even Asif. I jsut can't stand this talent going down the bin.

  • Wasif Khan on January 5, 2011, 21:39 GMT

    Based on seemingly clear evidence, the world has assumed that the Pakistani players are guilty. I am neither defending the players nor attempting to pass moral judgment on them. It’s important though to understand the grey in what has automatically been assumed to be a black and white, open and shut case in the eyes of the public.

    Corruption in sport is prevalent. That people are surprised by it every time something comes out in the open, is always a surprise to me. Consider the cases of Barry Bonds (record for most career home-runs) or Diego Maradona (Football) or Floyd Landis and Lance Armstrong (Tour de France) or the long list of cricket stars who fixed matches or ball-tampered. This list is a small fraction of world beating athletes who have probably cheated at some point in their careers.

    Every time something comes out, there is shock. The typical response from the critics is to suggest an awe striking response (ban them for life; strip their medals; indict them even if

  • morfi on January 5, 2011, 21:27 GMT

    brilliant! cant say more about the whole thing. best possible take on the issue so far.

  • Alex on January 5, 2011, 18:15 GMT

    Trio should be punished if proven guilty, I only have some sympathy with Amir becuase of his talent.

  • Ace on January 5, 2011, 18:00 GMT

    I am sypathy for Amer , lets see what happens.

  • Dawud on January 5, 2011, 17:39 GMT

    Spot on. Speaking as a life long Pakistani fan I would agree with every word. If found guilty Butt and Asif can expect no favours - Amir's age and lack of experience and naivety must be taken into account in any punishment. As should be the punishments handed out to players found guilty of similar offences in the past.

  • salman on January 5, 2011, 15:32 GMT

    i m desperately hoping against all hope that amir n asif come out unscathed atleast !! how badly have we missed the awesome new ball attack n the guile of these two extremely talented guys !! n in case there r harsh punishments we r gonna miss them for i dun kno how much time..fingers crossed..i m praying for amir n asif..!!

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  • salman on January 5, 2011, 15:32 GMT

    i m desperately hoping against all hope that amir n asif come out unscathed atleast !! how badly have we missed the awesome new ball attack n the guile of these two extremely talented guys !! n in case there r harsh punishments we r gonna miss them for i dun kno how much time..fingers crossed..i m praying for amir n asif..!!

  • Dawud on January 5, 2011, 17:39 GMT

    Spot on. Speaking as a life long Pakistani fan I would agree with every word. If found guilty Butt and Asif can expect no favours - Amir's age and lack of experience and naivety must be taken into account in any punishment. As should be the punishments handed out to players found guilty of similar offences in the past.

  • Ace on January 5, 2011, 18:00 GMT

    I am sypathy for Amer , lets see what happens.

  • Alex on January 5, 2011, 18:15 GMT

    Trio should be punished if proven guilty, I only have some sympathy with Amir becuase of his talent.

  • morfi on January 5, 2011, 21:27 GMT

    brilliant! cant say more about the whole thing. best possible take on the issue so far.

  • Wasif Khan on January 5, 2011, 21:39 GMT

    Based on seemingly clear evidence, the world has assumed that the Pakistani players are guilty. I am neither defending the players nor attempting to pass moral judgment on them. It’s important though to understand the grey in what has automatically been assumed to be a black and white, open and shut case in the eyes of the public.

    Corruption in sport is prevalent. That people are surprised by it every time something comes out in the open, is always a surprise to me. Consider the cases of Barry Bonds (record for most career home-runs) or Diego Maradona (Football) or Floyd Landis and Lance Armstrong (Tour de France) or the long list of cricket stars who fixed matches or ball-tampered. This list is a small fraction of world beating athletes who have probably cheated at some point in their careers.

    Every time something comes out, there is shock. The typical response from the critics is to suggest an awe striking response (ban them for life; strip their medals; indict them even if

  • Suleyman Shah on January 5, 2011, 22:06 GMT

    I really want Amir and Asif come back, there is only a certain amount that I can take as a fan, and this really took it to the limits. I really can't tollerate seeing us get annihilated time after time knowing it could be fixed. 10 years ago Pakistan was at its peak, AT ITS PEAK! Finding talent shouldn't be taken for granted, and I think Amir should be brought back, maybe even Asif. I jsut can't stand this talent going down the bin.

  • DonOfTheWorld on January 5, 2011, 22:15 GMT

    Great article. If anyone will be proved guilty then he must be punished. First the question rises about the authenticity of evidences. If they are authentic then how the bowlers becomes the part of it as nothing can happen without captain so Mr. Butt is already in trouble. M. Asif & M. Amir could be on the safe side because there could be some motives (forced) or like life threats.

    Still can't say more on it. Hope they will be cleared. All the best.

  • Shahid on January 5, 2011, 22:16 GMT

    This whole situation is quite confusing. Why these players were suspended just on a newspaper report? when the charges weren't even finalized. Why this tribunal couldn't complete its hearing before the announcement of the WC squad. If the trio is cleared of all the charges, will they be allowed to be part of the WC squad?

  • Sikandar on January 5, 2011, 22:17 GMT

    If you're a true Pakistan cricket fan - and I certainly count myself as one - you should hope that the guilty are punished severely, ESPECIALLY because they're so talented. We Pakistanis tend to sympathize with players because they win us matches, but we need to realize there's things more important than winning.

    If found guilty, I'm hoping Asif and Butt get at least five year suspensions and Amir gets at least one year.