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Thursday, November 10, 2011

Controvertial 3 idiots Aamir , Salman & Asif

By Usama Abbasi

Pakistan cricket sees the black day as one of its former captains and two front line bowlers are convicted criminals and transferred to jail from the court room. As a lover of the game, it shook my soul to see this betrayal to the country and its honour, the national colours and the millions of fans around the world-and the fruit of the betrayal. Conviction of Salman Butt and Mohammad Asif by a British court is an immense disgrace in Pakistan’s crisis infested cricket history. I was perhaps one of the few persons in this country who, from day one of this fiasco had stated that captain Salman certainly had his hands red in this controversy. I had also suggested that the seriousness of this controversy could perhaps have been reduced with a more sensible Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chairman than Ijaz Butt.

The moment this news was broken by The News of the World, Pakistan should have immediately withdrawn Salman, Asif and Mohammad Aamir from the touring team. Instead the PCB chose a path of confrontation both with the International Cricket Council (ICC) as well as the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB). In an unparalleled stupid move, our honourable ambassador in UK called the players, held his own investigations and declared them ‘totally innocent.’

The latest court verdict which sentences Salman for two and a half years, Asif for 1 year and Aamir for six months has made everybody look like a fool simply because nobody realised the seriousness of what had happened. One would recall a photograph of former manager Yawar Saeed laughing his head off on the balcony of Lord’s ground (or was it The Oval?) with a copy of The News of the World in his hands. It is now time for the powers that be in Pakistan to hold an inquiry in some significant issues. Firstly and most importantly, what were the precise duties and mandate of manager of the team and was it not the part of his duty to ensure discipline amongst players so that they didn’t participate in any unhealthy activity. Secondly, what was the precise nature of duties of full time security officer who accompanied the Pakistan team during that tour because providing security to visiting teams is the responsibility of the hosts. In the light of findings into these sensitive areas, future course of action especially the roll of managers and other team officials needs to be redrafted.

Cricketers are the most well paid sportsmen in Pakistan with an average earning of Rs.10 million which is a lot more than what highly qualified people like financial accountants, auditors etc make and yet if despite this wealth, they get involved into filthy activities like spot-fixing and match-fixing and flush the country's integrity down the drain, it is utterly disgraceful and is indicative of mental level of this breed. The accusations and proof were all recorded, not hearsay or circumstantial. Their guilty verdicts were almost set in stone. They should have spared themselves and Pakistan, the humiliation, and avoided the trials altogether. Surprisingly, they continued to be projected as heroes even after the can of worms had been opened.

They spent the last year smiling and talking lies on talk shows and in the press every other day – arrogantly thinking it was some fools paradise and they would get away with it. Shahid Afridi was openly caught tempering the ball and penalized. We elevated him to Test captaincy and he is now being projected as a role model day in and day out in a TV commercial. Will we ever learn or do we wish to become outcasts in international sports? Pakistan’s honour is bigger and greater than the fame and name of all these so-called heroes.

The PCB now needs to evolve a fresh code of conduct for players, which must contain a clause of criminal proceedings against a player suspected of such activities. New PCB chairman Zaka Ashraf has started on the wrong foot. He is apparently more interested in publicity photo sessions and TV interviews without even having acquainted himself properly with the detailed working of the PCB. No sports administrator worth his salt would pay the glowing tributes that Ashraf paid to former chairman Ijaz whose era was undoubted the greatest disaster in Pakistan cricket.

He is now going to fly off to the United Arab Emirates to watch the Pakistan-Sri Lanka ODI series instead of staying put in Lahore to try and make an effort of damage control. Soon other fringe benefits will follow. After all the PCB is a gold mine for foreign trips, unlimited privileges and fringe benefits together with great publicity avenues. So all the best to Ashraf!

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