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.