How do you feel about the Pakistan betting scam?

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We just feel depressed. Cricket is joyful escapism and this kind of thing just knackers it up.

Questioning on-field events

Assuming it’s true (and having seen Mohammad Amir’s giant no-ball, we’re pretty sure it is) the real damage is in the fact that people question everything that happens in a match and you only need to question something to utterly devalue it.

We don’t believe there’s been anything more than the odd deliberate no-ball (in this Test at least) but casting a shadow over everything else is damage enough. The players responsible can say to themselves that they aren’t affecting the outcome of the match, but it’s okay for them: they know what they’re doing and what they’re not doing. We don’t.

Stealing our heroes

The other huge negative is that cricket loses some of its heroes. Even if they don’t get banned for life, they’re no longer heroes; they’re sullied.

One of the joys of this series has been watching Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Amir. Asif’s kind of a numbnuts and we already knew that, but Amir was untarnished. We’ve some sympathy for him because he’s 18 and he’s being shown how to be a professional cricketer by his older teammates, but even so, there’ll always be a bit of shit stuck to him from now.


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  1. Fantastic work by Google ads there: “we want to be your next spread bet firm.” Obviously it has this blog confused with Aamer’s inbox.

    I’m annoyed as hell and I’m not going to take it anymore. Except I will, because cricket with hints of cheatiness is better than no cricket. I think.

  2. I agree with Nasser Hussein. Not Amir. There is no-one I would have wanted it to happen to less.

    It looks to me that it is likely to be true that they no-balled deliberately. I don’t think there was anything else to it, but there will still be crowing on the bulletin boards and a small element of doubt with the rest of us that England’s generally excellent series, already derided because Pakistan haven’t been very good and that somehow wickets taken by English bowlers when it is swinging don’t count is somehow down to dodgy bookmakers.

    I feel betrayed by a Pakistan side which I have a lot of affection for. How must a real Pakistan fan feel?

  3. don’t care. they’re idiots, this I already knew. look forward to watching them after they come back from whatever bans they get.

  4. There is more to this than just the no-balls. Amazing claims in the news of the world regarding the aus v pak test at sydney and trhe forthcoming one-day series.

  5. The whole thing’s just horrible. The News of the World transcripts make it sound like the whole team’s throwing games at the drop of a hat to spite the captains that they don’t like.

    This really is miserable stuff.

  6. Well I’m half Pakistani and I feel horrible.
    I was tempted to go in denial of all what happened because it’s simply becoming too much. I feel cheated and I don’t know how am I supposed to support this bunch again, which doesn’t give anything for what the fans think.
    Supporting Pak has never been an easy task.

  7. It’s all a bit disgusting, and has completely overshadowed what was an incredible Test match. We’re now thinking about this rather than Trott and Broad’s batting.

    I haven’t read the news of the screws article but this kind of entrapment by chequebook makes me feel really uneasy. Are they exposing corruption or instigating it? How widespread is this? And why has the ICC anti-corruption unit not managed to catch anyone at it?

  8. Very sad indeed. Looks pretty damning, and sullies what was an otherwise engrossing series.

    Amir in particular has the potential to be remembered as a great of the game. Now he will always be linked with cheating.

    It is a great shame, especially as it takes the shine off an incredible partnership between Trott and Broad.

  9. Perfectly put, KC. The article sums up my feelings today.

    The thing is, how do you stop it? There are webs of unscrupulous people around the world, they don’t have to be in the country the match is being played in, and the game itself is of a nature that lends itself to this kind of betting. None of the people involved fall under the jurisdiction of the ICC, or the PCB, or the ECB.

    Oh, hold on. I’ve just remembered. The players. They fall under cricket’s jurisdiction. So maybe there is a way that cricket can stop this. Let’s assume for a moment that it is true, try this approach. Ban Mohammed Amir for life. Kill this brilliantly promising cricket career stone dead. Prevent him from making a living from the incredible talents that he has. And then present the Amir case to every young cricketing hopeful. Show them what a massive risk they would be taking with their whole lives. Show them that cricket will have no mercy on them, and that a life ban, and the financial implication that will have for them, will follow as night follows day.

    I don’t know, maybe that won’t work. But it will certainly have a much better chance of working than giving him a two year ban.

  10. And if you don’t get what KC is saying, take a look at Rust’s comment at the bottom of the previous article. He’s wrong, of course.

    Isn’t he?

  11. I’m sad because the knowledge that the Pakistan team in all its glorious barminess, was out there somewhere, being either shit or ace, was part of what makes cricket brilliant. Now it just feels like we’ve been had.
    Goodness knows how rubbish the poor Pakistani fans must feel.

  12. When I wrote early yesterday eveing:

    “The doleful look on the baby panda’s face tells the story. There’ll be some soul-searching in the Pakistan camp after England wrap things up tomorrow – that’s for sure.”

    I had no idea how prescient that remark would turn out to be.

    Andy Strauss must be wondering what he did in a previous life to deserve the two concluding Sundays of England v Pakistan test series’s he’s had to endure.

    (Ged pauses and slowly raises eyebrow in the vain hope of having generated some myrth in all this gloom).

  13. “Been had?” This IS Pakistan after all. It’s not like it’s the first time and they were some model of purity and integrity up til now ( except in their own eyes, of course).

    A few temporary bans, a few sackings, the PCB deny all – and then it will be business as usual.

    It’s unpleasant, but I can’t understand why you are all so deflated.What reality have English fans been living in, to think that this is new news ?

  14. I agree with the above. I can’t see what all the fuss is about. Maybe I don’t take cricket seriously enough. I’ll go try work up a grim face. Eeeeeeeeeeeeee. No, does not work.

    Anyway, what’s Pakistan’s next series?

  15. It’s a poor sporting life though, rusts, if you’ve never thought any of it was real. What did you think you were watching? A play? Some reality TV show? Presumably you don’t stop your doubting at Pakistan. South Africa, they’ve got form so all their matches must be equally tainted. And India and Sri Lanka, well they come from the same betting culture. Australia? Wasn’t one of their players implicated with bookmakers once?

    Maybe English fans are naive. But I’d rather be naive than cynical any day. We might feel the disappointment at the end, but at least we get to smile along the way.

  16. Interesting view from someone on a forum: “If bookies are prepared to take bets on something as random as no balls then I think they deserve everything that is ripped off from them.”

    I’m not saying I agree and that spot-fixing doesn’t call into question other aspects of the match. But didn’t one of the Aussies stick a load of money on England after the follow-on during Botham’s Ashes because England were 500/1?

  17. Bert,

    I’ll get out me violin fer ye, puir naive thing! Yes, that’s right, Bert, only you and your fellow Brits “really” care about cricket.

    I’m just pointing out that some of you are reacting like a bunch of virgins who feel their own honour has been defiled.

    It’s Pakistan fans who are the ones who really have something to sob about, not you. Pakistan cricket has been struggling for years and you never noticed, did you? Only now that it affects you are you feeling sorry for YOURselves?

    Reminds me of that old chestnut about the supposed English news headline – “Continent cut off by fog”.

  18. I’m not sure anyone has said that this hurts the English more than it hurts the Pakistanis, only that it hurts the general cricket fan whatever nationality they might be. Clearly this is desperate for Pakistani cricket. If there were 60 nations playing high-standard international cricket, maybe we could write it off as a single-nation matter. But there are eight. And no sport can easily lose 12% of its structure.

    If there is a part of it that affects the English, it is that we thought (and maybe still hope) that we were watching two Englishmen play one of the greatest recoveries in the history of cricket. This might be small beer in comparison to the Pakistani cricket fans’ feelings, but it’s there all the same.

    I don’t know what nationality you are, rusts, or which team you follow. But if you think this doesn’t affect the integrity of the cricket you watch, it’s not us here who are being naive.

  19. What’s the fuss? Pakistan bowled three no-balls for money at the start of the game but were all over England (the third no-ball came when England were 52-5). Then they stopped being corrupt and England recovered.

    Pakistan need to be bribed to play badly more often, it’s the only way they can be guaranteed to play well.

    Loved the evil look that Amir gave Umar Akmal after he dropped a catch at slip the ball after the first no-ball. It was a look that said “Don’t say you’re bent, too.”

  20. Trivial I know but one of the things which I found saddest was Fathead Clark’s “I discard you” refusal to shake Amir’s hand at the pathetic presentation – petty picking on an 18 year old and why bother with a presentation at all?

  21. Chaps, let’s please not let this descent into nationalistic name calling. There is “Cricinfo Conversations” for that.

    KC, please say something amusing about Robert Key.

  22. Since when have we been the person people come to when they want cheering up?

    Found a silver lining and need the cloud pointing out to you? We’re your man. (Particularly when we’re spending our bank holiday sawing a bath panel in half.)

  23. Any chance of a sweepstake on your bath panel sawing exploits, KC?

    And perhaps we can place spot bets on particular minor injuries such as splinters and slight cuts.

    Very interesting if contrarian piece, Paddy, on your questing vole space. Long time no e, as we modern folk say!

  24. Sawed halfway through and then kicked it to pieces because there was no other way of removing it.

    Chris Broad’s fined us half our fee for violent conduct and it seems there were some irregular betting patterns regarding that particular outcome.

  25. I think that anyone who has been caught dealing with bookmakers and using banned substances, like Mohammed Asif, should have there records expunged from the game….

  26. Seriously? Isn’t it supposed to be innocent until proven guilty? Whatever the evidence may be, it still has to stand in a court of law. If it doesn’t stand then they are innocent – no convictions, no punishments, no fines, no bans.

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