Spot fixing November 1, 2011

A deterrent, nothing more

I didn't know how I'd feel, a voyeur at the prosecution of Salman Butt and Mohammad Asif? There was no thrill at being party to historic events, only sadness, regret
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Southwark Crown Court has a functional feel to it, hidden behind Tooley Street's chic shops and restaurants. No marble steps or sweeping staircases to lead you to the scene of possibly the most momentous trial in the history of cricket; a quick bag search and body scan bring you straight to a lift that deposits you outside courtroom 4, a judge's lair that damned three famous Pakistan cricketers.

I didn't know how I'd feel, a voyeur at the prosecution of Salman Butt and Mohammad Asif? There was no thrill at being party to historic events, only sadness, regret -- how did we come to this? Butt, Asif, and Mohammad Amir, the third man, were young men of dreams, hopes, and ambitions; to serve their nation and delight their countrymen on fields of cricket that might seem prosaic to most but represent the struggle of millions.

Those emotions remain with me after today's verdicts. Butt and Asif face jail terms. Amir might too, depending on his lawyer's ability to negotiate a reduced sentence in exchange for an admission of guilt. We will soon discover what will become of the men who confirmed the shameful indulgences of Pakistan cricket.

I was in Multan at Salman Butt's Test debut in 2003. Pakistan's 18-year-old left-handed opener made 12 and 37 in a dramatic Test that Pakistan saved thanks to a defiant hundred from Inzamam-ul Haq at his home ground. It was a special moment for Inzamam but equally special for Butt, who played fluently with the extra time that only a batsman of genuine class possesses. His future looked bright, an opening problem solved.

Three years later, Mohammad Asif raised his mastery of the bowler's art to a new level on another controversial tour of England. That 2006 series pitted Asif against the unofficial batting champion of the world, Kevin Pietersen. Asif made Pietersen his bunny, sending the champ back to his hutch almost the minute after an arrival at the crease. The McGrath of Sheikhupura we called him. Asif's metronomic deception was surely set to mesmerise the world for years to come?

Another three years ushered in the World Twenty20 in England. Pakistan shorn of hope, international cricket and, unusually, bowlers looked grateful to be mere participants. Also-rans became World Champions, in a dramatic tale of defiance and dazzling cricket. At the heart of the victory was Mohammad Amir, a 17-year-old fast bowler with the world at his feet and magic in his left arm, who started his career as if greatness was his birthright.

Now those dreams, hopes, and ambitions of the players and their supporters have ended in disgrace in a London courtroom. It took an English jury and a discredited British newspaper to confirm the failures of the Pakistan Cricket Board and the ICC.

There have been instances of corruption in cricket extending beyond Pakistan, and corruption in sport extends beyond cricket. Anybody who believes that we can now draw a line under spot-fixing and move on is delusional. Hansie Cronje, Mohammad Azahruddin and Marlon Samuels are just a few of the names that remind us that international cricket has a major problem. All that the London case has established is that the cricket authorities have failed to address this issue adequately despite thousands of words and millions of dollars. A fake Sheikh proved smarter than Interpol.

But that should not be used to deflect criticism from Pakistan cricket, which might not be the only culprit but it could be the most culpable. Corruption in cricket is an extension of the failures of Pakistani society. The proceedings in Southwark Crown Court paint a picture of arrogant disregard for morals and standards. The Pakistan Cricket Board is a failed institution that has declined to address the evident issues of corruption among its cricketers. The ICC has failed in its duty to protect international cricket from bookies and match-fixers. They have both missed opportunities to pursue leads and intervene.

Today's spot-fixing verdicts have provided a deterrent against future corruption, nothing more. They should force the ICC and cricket boards like the PCB to address this danger more pressingly and ruthlessly. In Pakistan's case, the issue is so complex and fault lines so many that a root and branch reform of Pakistan cricket and its governance is mandatory.

In the same week that Pakistan's great captain talked about his beloved country rediscovering its ideals, his successors are damned for corruption in an English courtroom. These young men have shamed a proud nation and an honourable sport. They have also cruelly epitomised the crisis at the heart of Pakistan: as a cricket team, a nation and a people we are full of dreams, hopes, and ambitions, but crippled by corruption. Dreams, hopes, and ambitions are better served by deeds of pride and honour.

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

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • bob ryman on November 9, 2011, 12:54 GMT

    Sad to think that players who cheat should be sent to prison for such a long time, whilst MPs who cheat the taxpayers get off with a slap on the wrist. Excellent law we have in this country. When are we going to move forward?

  • fhs on November 4, 2011, 17:43 GMT

    I wish to know the 'end to end game'. The agent (Majeed) was the middle man. How (and where) he was getting the money? Who was funding (actual bookies who were paying the agent)?

  • Irfan on November 4, 2011, 3:57 GMT

    Any thoughts about the remuneration these players have received over the time period and under contract. Now, when their guilt about their involvement in this racket is proven beyond reasonable doubt, PCB should seek to recover the amounts of money which were paid to them as match fee or any other payment made in lieu of during that time period. Their assets should be evaluated and ceased. It should be seen to it that they are made an example which can make any other future fixer quack in his boots.

  • aftab on November 4, 2011, 0:51 GMT

    As painful as it is, the Pakistan Government should make it look like a job half done (or less), and start investigation of the issue inside out with the World Press as witness. This will restore the pride of the nation. There is one guy who can help immensely and can be granted immunity for that. He will be available in 3 months.

  • Irfan on November 3, 2011, 15:37 GMT

    No need to wax poetic. Both Mazhar and Salman should be put through lie detector to find more out about other rival rings with in the that team of 2010 English summer. The "other" player should be found out and named. ICC and PCB should be able to see to it that, that other player is not swept under the rug. If this is the tip of the ice berg then few statements regarding the shameful conduct of the sentenced players will not do. There is so much more to discover and see where this rabbit hole goes.

  • VSD on November 3, 2011, 15:06 GMT

    Corruption cannot be routed overnight from the subcontinent. It is there in India and its there in Pakistan. The only difference probably is that difference in the administrators of both the countries and to a greater extent, the lack of basic education in Pakistan. The whole incident should now be investigated and any player with the remotest of involvement with the bookies should be banned for life!

  • Nisar on November 3, 2011, 14:34 GMT

    It’s good to know that criminal must be sentenced, but I was expecting that through this we will try to catch those sharks who really trying to involved them, and sitting in Dubai, Lahore, India in every cricket nation. It’s not the game of Just 4 persons, it’s a chain linked with one and one… ICC must need to think in that way…. Surprisingly not, A big Q on ICC. Waiting for Answer...

  • Sarik on November 3, 2011, 6:51 GMT

    @Ali: Amir didnt ball those noballs because his captain told him to bowl it during the match. He was told to bowl it before the match even started and he took a payment to bowl those noball.

  • Agha Hussain on November 2, 2011, 12:08 GMT

    Lets please stop saying "Oh Pakistan is doomed". PLEASE. Pakistan cricket is at an all time high this year since 2007. We've won against equal and greater opponents than ourselves and the present team has avoided controversy and done exceedingly well under harsh circumstances.

    Who cares about Asif and Amir now? The best opening fast bowlers in modern day cricket, but the ICC won't ever let them come back. I believe it is bias, but come on we do not need them that much.

  • M. Nawaz Janjua, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia on November 2, 2011, 11:46 GMT

    It is just very hurting. Salman & Asif have let us down not only in the cricket field but also in front of the whole world. They should never show up their faces in Pakistan and especially around cricket. Salman & Asif have corrupted Amir too. I hope that Amir has learnt his lesson and he should be punished lightly on his admission of guilt. He is such a nice young player an asset for Pakistan. Hope for least best.

  • bob ryman on November 9, 2011, 12:54 GMT

    Sad to think that players who cheat should be sent to prison for such a long time, whilst MPs who cheat the taxpayers get off with a slap on the wrist. Excellent law we have in this country. When are we going to move forward?

  • fhs on November 4, 2011, 17:43 GMT

    I wish to know the 'end to end game'. The agent (Majeed) was the middle man. How (and where) he was getting the money? Who was funding (actual bookies who were paying the agent)?

  • Irfan on November 4, 2011, 3:57 GMT

    Any thoughts about the remuneration these players have received over the time period and under contract. Now, when their guilt about their involvement in this racket is proven beyond reasonable doubt, PCB should seek to recover the amounts of money which were paid to them as match fee or any other payment made in lieu of during that time period. Their assets should be evaluated and ceased. It should be seen to it that they are made an example which can make any other future fixer quack in his boots.

  • aftab on November 4, 2011, 0:51 GMT

    As painful as it is, the Pakistan Government should make it look like a job half done (or less), and start investigation of the issue inside out with the World Press as witness. This will restore the pride of the nation. There is one guy who can help immensely and can be granted immunity for that. He will be available in 3 months.

  • Irfan on November 3, 2011, 15:37 GMT

    No need to wax poetic. Both Mazhar and Salman should be put through lie detector to find more out about other rival rings with in the that team of 2010 English summer. The "other" player should be found out and named. ICC and PCB should be able to see to it that, that other player is not swept under the rug. If this is the tip of the ice berg then few statements regarding the shameful conduct of the sentenced players will not do. There is so much more to discover and see where this rabbit hole goes.

  • VSD on November 3, 2011, 15:06 GMT

    Corruption cannot be routed overnight from the subcontinent. It is there in India and its there in Pakistan. The only difference probably is that difference in the administrators of both the countries and to a greater extent, the lack of basic education in Pakistan. The whole incident should now be investigated and any player with the remotest of involvement with the bookies should be banned for life!

  • Nisar on November 3, 2011, 14:34 GMT

    It’s good to know that criminal must be sentenced, but I was expecting that through this we will try to catch those sharks who really trying to involved them, and sitting in Dubai, Lahore, India in every cricket nation. It’s not the game of Just 4 persons, it’s a chain linked with one and one… ICC must need to think in that way…. Surprisingly not, A big Q on ICC. Waiting for Answer...

  • Sarik on November 3, 2011, 6:51 GMT

    @Ali: Amir didnt ball those noballs because his captain told him to bowl it during the match. He was told to bowl it before the match even started and he took a payment to bowl those noball.

  • Agha Hussain on November 2, 2011, 12:08 GMT

    Lets please stop saying "Oh Pakistan is doomed". PLEASE. Pakistan cricket is at an all time high this year since 2007. We've won against equal and greater opponents than ourselves and the present team has avoided controversy and done exceedingly well under harsh circumstances.

    Who cares about Asif and Amir now? The best opening fast bowlers in modern day cricket, but the ICC won't ever let them come back. I believe it is bias, but come on we do not need them that much.

  • M. Nawaz Janjua, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia on November 2, 2011, 11:46 GMT

    It is just very hurting. Salman & Asif have let us down not only in the cricket field but also in front of the whole world. They should never show up their faces in Pakistan and especially around cricket. Salman & Asif have corrupted Amir too. I hope that Amir has learnt his lesson and he should be punished lightly on his admission of guilt. He is such a nice young player an asset for Pakistan. Hope for least best.

  • Muhammad Wasim, on November 2, 2011, 11:25 GMT

    I agree with comment of Ali (Posted by: Ali at November 1, 2011 6:22 PM )

  • Santanu on November 2, 2011, 10:48 GMT

    Sad for the game of cricket as a whole.One should not have any sympathy for Asif,a serial offender but really feel bad for a prodigious talent like Amir,who has been dragged int it.As for Butt,he was the face of elite class of Pak cricket and in a way least expected to be corrupted.What a waste.

  • Dinesh on November 2, 2011, 10:44 GMT

    For All,

    Leave this behind and start thinking of future. Its been written and read about for ample number of times.

  • Samaresh Yellanki on November 2, 2011, 10:36 GMT

    From my point of view first pakistan have to built a strong administration now every player should obey the rulls and regulation.i am also agree with moshin players are not bigger than the nation.its the time to bring the pak glory back and the legend like imran ,wasim,javed should come forwad and help the nation

  • riz on November 2, 2011, 9:58 GMT

    we must not feel sorry for these frauds and cheaters, This is good for future Pak cricket, they should be convicted to maximum, They spoiled name of Pak Cricket and Pak Nation. WE have to eradicate corruption from all walks of Life, we will come out strongly, have patience, Now cricketers know they are being watched, their must be social boycot with them."Teach them Lesson" Supermacy of cricket has prevailed.

  • Laks on November 2, 2011, 9:42 GMT

    Excellent Article. If Butt, Asif and Amir had been in the World cup squad. Pakistan might have been the World Champions. Its waste of immense talent.

  • Hari Raghavachari on November 2, 2011, 9:12 GMT

    Mohammad Amir was going to be International Cricket's fast bowling equivalent of Sachin, Shane or Murali! The first fast bowler to 1000 International Wickets - that's how good he is. He would serve his time whatever / however that might be; but hope and pray he comes back, aware of his responsibilities not only to himself, but to the sport and to his country! Also hope his fellow professionals will forgive, and welcome him back to the fold. Cricket and Pakistan need Mohammad Amir, as much as Amir needs his sport! All the best.

  • Matt Popplewell on November 2, 2011, 8:48 GMT

    A great article no doubt, well written but lets not blame anyone but three brilliant talents that have ruined this great game through greed. Sure the PCB have issues but as kids we were all taught right from wrong. Didn't these three listen to their parents?

  • tanzir on November 2, 2011, 8:41 GMT

    i feel like crying now :(

    Shame on them to betray fans like me who adored them

  • ajmal on November 2, 2011, 8:27 GMT

    Being a pakistani, i feel shame for my country because of these players. We love our country and proud to be pakistani. Anybody who let our country down in any field or profission, must be treeted like this. In case of Salman and Asif, they must have been recieve life ban. Amir being a teenager decieved by these characters and I know from the impact of our society how a boy of this age mature enough to react in the situation he fall during Lord,s test. Also being a talented player and a legend to the world cricket, he must be returned to the groud as soon as possible. Otherwise his absence will be a big loss for the international cricket and cricket lovers because the players of this calibre like tendulkar, Wasim Akram, Brian Lara, Javaid Miandad, Muralitharan etc not bornning everyday.

  • Haroun Rashid on November 2, 2011, 8:19 GMT

    An excellent article Mr Abbasi. What a national disgrace. May they all live in everlasting shame. Pakistan cricket will move on. If nothing else, let it be a lesson that no player is indispensable. As an ardent Pakistani cricket fan, I would rather we languished at the bottom of the ratings tables than put up with a player of even doubtful integrity. And shame on the PCB for sweeping this issue under the carpet for so long.

  • Naeem Muhammad on November 2, 2011, 7:57 GMT

    Today these culprits will hear the punishment for what they did wrong to the cricket. Who will handover the punishment to them for what they did wrong to our country and the 187 million people?

  • Nadeem Khan on November 2, 2011, 7:48 GMT

    This article is as plaintive as Mohammad Rafi's voice. Do we have any award for articles? Pakistan is a factory of fast bowlers. Amir and Asif will be replaced by Junaid Khans, Cheems, Sadaf Hussains, Wahab Riazs etc. But we don't need people like Asif, Amir, Butt who showed no honesty to malign the name of our country. Yes I feel sad, but I feel better after swallowing a bitter pill.

  • Azeem on November 2, 2011, 7:37 GMT

    Sad. ALl three are criminals and deserve their punishment. yet a part of me wishes to see Aamir bowl again. Its wishful thinking and now even more unlikely given the conviction and the fact that it would probably be difficult to get visas to countries where he might play. but losing Aamir is a massive loss to the game. he would have been a legend and could very well have been a candidate for future all time Pakistan and maybe even World X1's.

  • Tashfeen Qayyum on November 2, 2011, 7:30 GMT

    Very nice article, touches the heart of every Pakistani. As a Pakistani, it is so sad and one fails to understand the reason for doing so, to top it we are Muslims, Haraam is haraam, dont they know that.? Did they really need that money? I dont know but what a waste of such great talent.

  • getsetgopk on November 2, 2011, 6:20 GMT

    Well im from pakistan, and I guess we now know why pakistan were so unpredictable, one day they would beat Australia and the next day they would lose to Bangladesh and so on. Non of the other teams are unpredictable why is or was pakistan so unpredicable? Since that controversy broke out Pakistan has lost just a single test match and won 4. They even drawn a test series against South Africa one of the toughest teams in world cricket. The reason should not be that hard to figure out. And these three convicts should now come out with an open appology and point out all those others involved in fixing from players to top PCB administration, they owe us cricket fans that much after what they have done.

  • Adeel on November 2, 2011, 6:02 GMT

    If there is the punishment for accepting corrupt money then why there is no punishment for offering corrupt money? stupid laws of whoever they are....

  • Ritesh Bhagwat on November 2, 2011, 5:50 GMT

    The Problem with Pakistan cricket remains that they are still in Imran Khan Era. Agreed that Imran Khan was an exceptional Leader and a terrific cricketer but he is done with his cricket. They should get out of that cycle and start taking strong decisions. Culturally they are very close to us Indians.Corruption is a problem with India too but somehow in Cricket we have moved from gavaskars to tendulkars and now to Dhonis. Wish Pak cricket all the best as they still are the best bowling side in world cricket.We want to see Pakistani bowlers against Indian batsmen. Nothing can beat that not even the Ashes!

  • Syed Hadrium on November 2, 2011, 5:45 GMT

    Pakistan can find More Mohammad Amir but they will not find another Asif.

  • Mabsoos Ahmad on November 2, 2011, 5:31 GMT

    Dear Mr. Kamran,

    Excellent acrticle to read and broader picture of corruption in cricket. It is a shame for cricket community as a whole. We can say that there are three culprits, ICC-PCB-Players involved. If ICC had a strong administation and a perfect set up these things would not happened. Had PCB has adopted stringent code of conduct and punihsed players for fould doings, we have avoided this shameful acts. Above all, players who are earning so much after being international cricketers, still greedy shame on them. There should be a harsh punishment for them for a good lesson to others and they should not emerge on international scene once again. We still feel that this corrupt practice will not end till ICC and the respective boards do not come out with a strong will power to check this corruption. We do not favour to return of playing cricket once they are guilty. If they are guilty, punishment for the whole life at least besides seizing all the wealths earned by them.

  • Imran Khan on November 2, 2011, 4:50 GMT

    A masterpiece you have written here but a shame that being a Pakistani, I have to see all of this. The punishment on Aamir should be relaxed as he admitted his mistake and no doubt he was under so much pressure because of the lobby that is responsible for removing talented cricketers. The other two culprits are not just criminals but also liars and very good actors. But their pack of lies didn't impress the jury and decision regarding them is justified. We dont need an Asif, Aamir or Butt in the side. More and more talented players are coming up and Pakistan cricket is moving in a positive direction.

  • S A Raja on November 2, 2011, 3:49 GMT

    Hi Kamraan Saab,

    To the point as usual and as expected from Mr. Kamraan, a straight forward article.

    I am an Indian and have always admired our players from Pakistan. Very talented and competent, but the lure of money has got to some of the players.

    I am gutted and upset about the whole incident. Hope at least now there is a change and people realise that sincerity, hard work and above all Honesty always pays.

  • PS Sidhu on November 2, 2011, 2:21 GMT

    Leave it behind. Let's move forward!

  • Jonathan on November 2, 2011, 1:12 GMT

    @ Chandra:Let's see if my reply get posted. If it does, the answer is, the three front-line runners were the mere foot-soldiers. Now obviously in "The Betting Universe both legal & illegal" bigger participants are involved - with the power & money they have - fingers can not be pointed to them & hence the Lambs for the Lions are to be sacrificed.

  • Richard Carpenter on November 2, 2011, 0:31 GMT

    If there is a espncricinfo.com award for article of the year, I suggest that they stop looking and award the prize now. Brilliant article. As an Englishman, I loved watching the young Amir bowl, a brilliant talent, and badly let down.

    I for one, believe every word that he says that he was pressured and therefore think that the pressure falls on the ICC and the PCB. How could they have let this young man so badly?

  • ALI on November 1, 2011, 23:58 GMT

    PCB SHAME ON YOU FOR NOT PROTECTING OUR CRICKET ASSET & THROWING THEM TO WOLFS OF CORRUPTION

  • Chandra on November 1, 2011, 22:55 GMT

    Hi,

    One thing I am surprised that no one is talking about - if these guys received payments, somebody paid them, right? Why isn't anyone talking about who arranged those payments? I, by no means, am supporting Butt and Asif, but the guys who pay bribes are as guilty as the ones who receive them. Why is the law turning a blind eye to the ones who have arranged those payments? Whoever they are, don't they have a part in this pathetic charade? Shouldn't ICC be looking at those entities too?

  • Jay on November 1, 2011, 22:36 GMT

    Sad development, but it seems to really have had a cathartic effect on Pakistan cricket. The team, now playing against Sri Lanka in the UAE, is ticking over very nicely, natural flair plus hard graft. Long may it last.

  • Aftab Qureshi on November 1, 2011, 22:20 GMT

    Let's not forget that this saga, as shameful and hurtful it is to Pakistan and Pakistanis, has thrown up some other names as well. Fortunately, they are not part of the team currently playing SL. The least the Board and the selectors can do is to bar them forever. I am not after their livelihoods but the same should go for their Pakistani employers.

    Also, justice annot be served if there is impunity for the bookmakesrs and their agents--they should also be behind bars.

  • faz on November 1, 2011, 22:14 GMT

    Manish, you probably checked the scorecards of the 4 tests played and checked who dismissed Pieterson. You should have checked the fact that Asif was actually injured and did not play the first 3 tests. He only played the 4th in which he got Pieterson once and then got him in the only 20/20 and the first two odi's. Therefore Asif took out Pieterson 4 times in 5 innings......and two of those wickets were first ball golden ducks!! Kamran is right Kev was seen as his bunny. As you say Manish, the info is just a click away!

  • Clayton Burne on November 1, 2011, 22:12 GMT

    What a tragedy for the cricket fan. Fot Butt and Asif I care not, they had there time and got to play for many years. Much like Cronje and others, they were feathering their own retirements. But to facilitate the expiration of a 'once in a generation' bowler in Amir is doubly criminal. As a cricket fan, I feel cheated of watching this young kid bowl for another 10 years. It's worse for having seen what he was capable of. This must be akin to what my parents generation felt about Barry Richards and co. Careers cut short but not short enough to have recognised the void that their not being there would leave.

  • Hassaan Yasin on November 1, 2011, 21:18 GMT

    @manish Asif missed the first 3 tests of that tour. And dismissed Pietersen for a golden duck in the first innings of the 4th and the only test that he played on that tour.

  • aamer on November 1, 2011, 21:13 GMT

    Hopefully this will be a good thing for Pakistan cricket. you will have to be extremely stupid to indulge in any shenanigans after this. the problem with us is that we find it very difficult to admit that our cricketers can do something wrong, we always believe that it must someone else’s fault or a conspiracy. Problem cant be fixed unless you admit that it exists. what’s happening in cricket at a micro level is an image of what’s happening in Pakistan at a macro level.

  • fazal Hussain on November 1, 2011, 21:01 GMT

    Iamactually relievd that it is over.The verdict was inevitable considering the overwhelming evidence against the 3 convicted players. Idonot know howthey would be able to get over this traumatised experience but theyhave brought onto themselves.Should oters learn from this shameful experience,only the time will tell. There are no doubt other pleyrs in the world who are involved in this money grabbing and deceitful hobby which is at the expense of innocent and stupid punters.

    iF punters stopped betting there wouldbe no bookies making millions thus eradicating thismenace.

  • Sameer on November 1, 2011, 21:00 GMT

    @Manish the reason Asif bowled him once in the test series was because he only played the Oval test which was the 4th and last test of the series.

    @ Morfi, his 135 included a clear cut inside edge to the keeper which doctrove didnt pick.

  • RKD on November 1, 2011, 21:00 GMT

    What ever I am writing here is purely as a cricket fan.It is hard to believe that all these whoever is involved in this kind of activities (Irrespective of there country )can be so selfish that they don't even think about cheating a profession that gave them so much. The people who pay money to watch them are not that rich as these people are ,and the time people spent on following their superstars is worth more than any amount of money. These selfish people dont deserve this much love and care. They have no respect for their fans, country and even for themselves. They dont belong to any country and their caste is money. May be this the tip of the iceberg as there may be more people involved in past but couldn't get caught.

  • Cricket Fanatic on November 1, 2011, 20:56 GMT

    The author appears to be confused by all the direct stakeholders involved in our beloved sport, except the fans; from ridiculing the ICC to the various cricket boards and the players. While the ICC has been restrained in its attempts at curbing corruption in the sport, do not forget that the ACSU was indeed tracking the movements of these players and several others and continues to do so. While these details may not be made public, for obvious reasons, their access to information is very limited. Since the ICC is neither a government agency nor a media outlet, and it is directly involved in the sport, it cannot authorize the ACSU to obtain information through such means. With their hands tied, it is wrong to drag the ICC (or ACSU) into the dirt that the PCB is in.

  • Manish on November 1, 2011, 20:51 GMT

    "That 2006 series pitted Asif against the unofficial batting champion of the world, Kevin Pietersen. Asif made Pietersen his bunny, sending the champ back to his hutch almost the minute after each arrival at the crease." Wow Mr. Kamran Get your facts right before writing any thing. KP the so called bunny of Asif was bowled only once by Asif in that series & that too in the last test match of that series. I like ur articles but I think you should check the stats first before writing any thing now a days when any information is just a click away.

  • Morfi on November 1, 2011, 20:50 GMT

    @John Price - In the 2006 series, Peitersen's only score of note was a 135. The rest were odd 20s. No wonder he averaged 49. But Asif got Pietersen's wicket only once in the series and that was for a duck! In the ODI series, however, Asif got Pietersen 2 times out of 4 at scores of 2 and 17. The other scores by Pietersen were 21 and 40. So I guess Kamran has a point, albeit slightly exaggerated...

  • syed on November 1, 2011, 20:28 GMT

    They should be jailed. Although I am one for forgiveness always, but the events of this shameful episode have made me so disappointed, that even a jail sentence is too mild. The height of dishonesty is how they continued to portray innocence and deny any wrong doings and instead tried to put the blame on each other. Dishonest people who have disappointed there fans, their well wishers, their community, their country and even their religion.

  • Shoaib Khan on November 1, 2011, 20:22 GMT

    We can only rise after this.

  • Faakhir on November 1, 2011, 20:08 GMT

    I am sad for Butt since I knew him however at the same time I see rise of Pakistan cricket in foreseeable future because this sentence may well prove to be a deterrent for our young players who may fall into this ugly trap otherwise!

  • Ali on November 1, 2011, 20:07 GMT

    We knew it was coming yet we are badly hurt. No more comments!

  • JackieL on November 1, 2011, 19:56 GMT

    Your words are inspiring, not least because they are right. I think Pakistan needs to hold onto the moral dangers of being soft on corruption. I feel pity for the three cricketers, not because they are not guilty. They have been caught and will be punished. But because they have been tempted and fallen. They are very skillful players but they are not great players because they have sold something really beyond price for money, which is their honour.

  • Caveman on November 1, 2011, 19:43 GMT

    I hope there is redemption for Amir. Accepting that there is a problem is the first step to solving it. Butt and Asif insist they did no wrong, contrary to all the evidence. Amir, however, accepts his mistake. This indicates to me that this young man may indeed be serious about putting this episode in the past. I hope Amir gets his punishment mitigated somewhat, and the ICC keeping Amir's admission of guilt in mind reduce the ban from 5 years to 3 or 4, so that Amir can come back to the game in which he delighted so many purists.

  • John Price on November 1, 2011, 19:34 GMT

    "That 2006 series pitted Asif against the unofficial batting champion of the world, Kevin Pietersen. Asif made Pietersen his bunny, sending the champ back to his hutch almost the minute after each arrival at the crease." Actually Pietersen average 49.57 in that series. Pretty good for someone who never batted more than a minute.

  • Shehryar on November 1, 2011, 19:29 GMT

    Excellent article Kamran. It’s a very sad day for every cricket lover. I still remember watching a very emotional Michael Holding on sky sports during live coverage of the game when the news broke, he couldn’t even complete his sentence and this brought a tear to my eye, a tear of anguish and utter shame that these crooks were not only Pakistani ambassadors but Cricket icons. PCB and ICC’s anti corruption unit now must start their investigations against Akmal brothers, particularly Kamran and Wahab Riaz, Also, appropriate Government authorities particularly in India and Pakistan should put in place measures to protect their players from the betting mafia.

  • Khalid Shahzad on November 1, 2011, 19:26 GMT

    Sad,sad, day for Paksitan. As if we are not suffering enough comes this blow. For someone who has followed Pakistan Cricket for the last 30 years ever since a kid and listened to each and every ball of all the Test Matches it is the most sad day of my life. Sadness for Amir and nothing but utmost anger and hate for Salman. One who was giving nationalistic speeches after the Birmingham test matches to rob and cheat the whole nation and then then had the temerity to come on teleivsion shows and plead innocence. I am against capital punishment but if at all someone deserves it then it has to him. He has cheated the nation deserves the worst

  • Mohammed on November 1, 2011, 19:02 GMT

    Great article, well written. The ICC should enforce its rule about Cricket Boards being elected and all its other recommndations, then we might see a more professional board rather than corrupt gravy train.

  • Shahid Qadri on November 1, 2011, 19:01 GMT

    What a pity and what a shame. These people were already earning millions by way of central contracts, match fees, sponsorships, daily allowances, prize money and what not. They were lucky they had the skill to bat and bowl as otherwise they would have been nothing; being uneducated and unemployed. Their greed for more got the better of them. Its harsh but a reality that everyone has to come to terms with.

  • Faraz Ahmed on November 1, 2011, 18:58 GMT

    *Speechless*

  • Saba on November 1, 2011, 18:53 GMT

    The sentiments of most Pakistanis aptly put into words in one article.the pcb is no less guilty than the cricketers who have undone their achievements by sinking deep in the mire of deceit and shame.the problem has always been there.it's not the first time Pakistanis been accused of fixing.rather than viewing it as a 'conspiracy' against Pakistan cricket,it is time to recognize the problem that has been there and needs to be get rid of for good now.

  • Ijaz on November 1, 2011, 18:53 GMT

    I am so sorry for such a Died Nation and its Politics...........

  • Tabrez on November 1, 2011, 18:53 GMT

    Goog decision taken by the court.It will bring little improvement in Pakistan team

  • Usman on November 1, 2011, 18:48 GMT

    Simply put, a fantastic piece of writing.

  • Ali on November 1, 2011, 18:22 GMT

    I dont know what is Mohammad Amir's fault. He just did what his captain do, bowl a no bvall on his order. A lot of bowlers and batsmen sometimes play as per captain demand, example new zealand captain asking his batmsen to bat slwo and not let australia take a bonus point so they are knocked out of compettition, that is cheating. I think Mohammad Amir punishment should be lienient as he just followed his captains order without questioning, not his fault.

  • Salman on November 1, 2011, 18:21 GMT

    Asif and Butt should be tried in Pakistan on treason charges. Now we also understand the Haider affair. He was in the team Kamran was out so he was getting threats from bookies. If he quits Kamran would be back and...... you know where I am going? These guys not only committed these crimes but also they have bullied the good players like Younus Khan Afridi and the like. Underperforming to get rid of their captains? These three and the others involved should be exposed and charged in the courts.

  • Azhar on November 1, 2011, 18:06 GMT

    Very well said Kamran. I am sad, angry and satisfied to an extent. I feel sad for Aamir because I think we failed him. His seniors have failed him. Instead of playing for Pakistan, Amer may be in jail now. Asif and Butt are serial cheaters. Asif was involved in too many controversies. He looks like a serial case. In Salam Butt, we thought, we found a decent, honest captain who could lead us for a long time. Shame, shame and more shame on Butt. He was the cpatain of our cricket team. And if our Board is smart, they would stay clear of all the shady characters. Make Afridi the captain in ODIs and T20s. At least, we know he is one of the few honest characters. Again, shame on these 'ambassadors'....shame, shame and shame.

  • Suhail Kamran on November 1, 2011, 18:05 GMT

    I kind of agree with Kamran here. It would take a lot more than just punishing these guys. On a broader scale, everyone is a culprit; PCB, ICC and the players. It is because of the players desire that the bookies keep coming back and it's because of ICC and PCB's negligence that these things keep happening. Qayyum report, Cronje's death, Azharuddin's ban; two decades later, we are back at square one!

  • Arshad on November 1, 2011, 17:52 GMT

    A Sad Sad Sad day for all cricket lovers, I was the little boy who watched from the edrich stand, Imran and Mohsin in 82 at lords and made me feel pround to be Pakistani, the same boy in 87 who marvelled at Imran's men winning 1-0 at the oval, in 92 watching the ultimate game at Melbourne, etc....HURT BEYOND BELIEF, by Pakistani Society Failures and greed for US$!

  • Deepak Odhekar on November 1, 2011, 17:50 GMT

    Very heart-rending story that. One feels sorry for Pak cricket, a mine of talented players coming up daily, only to be wasted in no time. We still can't forget the Imran-days. Pak wants such a dedicated & patriotic leader. But does PCB wants Imranlike captain?

  • sajjo on November 1, 2011, 17:33 GMT

    excellent article! so sad but still so true..

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  • sajjo on November 1, 2011, 17:33 GMT

    excellent article! so sad but still so true..

  • Deepak Odhekar on November 1, 2011, 17:50 GMT

    Very heart-rending story that. One feels sorry for Pak cricket, a mine of talented players coming up daily, only to be wasted in no time. We still can't forget the Imran-days. Pak wants such a dedicated & patriotic leader. But does PCB wants Imranlike captain?

  • Arshad on November 1, 2011, 17:52 GMT

    A Sad Sad Sad day for all cricket lovers, I was the little boy who watched from the edrich stand, Imran and Mohsin in 82 at lords and made me feel pround to be Pakistani, the same boy in 87 who marvelled at Imran's men winning 1-0 at the oval, in 92 watching the ultimate game at Melbourne, etc....HURT BEYOND BELIEF, by Pakistani Society Failures and greed for US$!

  • Suhail Kamran on November 1, 2011, 18:05 GMT

    I kind of agree with Kamran here. It would take a lot more than just punishing these guys. On a broader scale, everyone is a culprit; PCB, ICC and the players. It is because of the players desire that the bookies keep coming back and it's because of ICC and PCB's negligence that these things keep happening. Qayyum report, Cronje's death, Azharuddin's ban; two decades later, we are back at square one!

  • Azhar on November 1, 2011, 18:06 GMT

    Very well said Kamran. I am sad, angry and satisfied to an extent. I feel sad for Aamir because I think we failed him. His seniors have failed him. Instead of playing for Pakistan, Amer may be in jail now. Asif and Butt are serial cheaters. Asif was involved in too many controversies. He looks like a serial case. In Salam Butt, we thought, we found a decent, honest captain who could lead us for a long time. Shame, shame and more shame on Butt. He was the cpatain of our cricket team. And if our Board is smart, they would stay clear of all the shady characters. Make Afridi the captain in ODIs and T20s. At least, we know he is one of the few honest characters. Again, shame on these 'ambassadors'....shame, shame and shame.

  • Salman on November 1, 2011, 18:21 GMT

    Asif and Butt should be tried in Pakistan on treason charges. Now we also understand the Haider affair. He was in the team Kamran was out so he was getting threats from bookies. If he quits Kamran would be back and...... you know where I am going? These guys not only committed these crimes but also they have bullied the good players like Younus Khan Afridi and the like. Underperforming to get rid of their captains? These three and the others involved should be exposed and charged in the courts.

  • Ali on November 1, 2011, 18:22 GMT

    I dont know what is Mohammad Amir's fault. He just did what his captain do, bowl a no bvall on his order. A lot of bowlers and batsmen sometimes play as per captain demand, example new zealand captain asking his batmsen to bat slwo and not let australia take a bonus point so they are knocked out of compettition, that is cheating. I think Mohammad Amir punishment should be lienient as he just followed his captains order without questioning, not his fault.

  • Usman on November 1, 2011, 18:48 GMT

    Simply put, a fantastic piece of writing.

  • Tabrez on November 1, 2011, 18:53 GMT

    Goog decision taken by the court.It will bring little improvement in Pakistan team

  • Ijaz on November 1, 2011, 18:53 GMT

    I am so sorry for such a Died Nation and its Politics...........