Spot fixing bans and second chances for Amir, Asif and Butt

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People are idiots. That’s a rule that pretty much always stands up to scrutiny. Put people in a position where there’s a choice to make and they will naturally veer towards the stupid option by default.

Even so, some options are sufficiently stupid that most of us don’t take them. With a huge, heavy Le Creuset pan full of curry in the oven, you can either take it out with your bare hands or you can put on the oven gloves. Most people will go for the oven gloves.

The remaining people can be split into two further subcategories. There are people who scald their hands and think “Christ, I’m never doing that again” and then there are a very small number of people who try and return the pan to the oven bare-handed after stirring the contents.

Mohammad Asif

The latter are the people who can’t be helped. Simply sit them down in front of ITV1 and just pray that they don’t ever attempt to do anything again in the whole of the rest of their lives. We’re pretty sure that Mohammad Asif fits into this category. If he lost a finger in a Philips blender, he would probably still need to be told to keep his hand out of an active Kenwood blender.

Mohammad Amir, on the other hand, is hopefully the kind of man who only needs to sear his fingertips the once and he deserves a chance to prove it. A five year ban is a long time out of the game, but you can’t appreciate the significance of a second chance without knowing there were consequences when you stuffed up the first time.

And Salman Butt?

We’re not sure where we stand on him. Older than Amir, but not that old, criticism of him seems to revolve around the fact that he should have known better because he’s ‘smart’ or something. Well clearly he isn’t that smart because he’s just been banned from cricket for a decade. Middle-class people who speak good English can be pretty damn thick as well and maybe they too should be allowed the opportunity to take or spurn a second chance.

If Amir or Butt are ever to take a second chance, they could start by acknowledging one thing – that those bans are not merely punishment for themselves; more importantly, they are a deterrent to others. A reformed cricketer would acknowledge wrongdoing and accept a fitting punishment that would serve the greater good of the sport.

Is there any chance of that?


Mike Gatting wasn't receiving the King Cricket email when he dropped that ludicrously easy chance against India in 1993.


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  1. I got nothing intelligent to say, but ,like Butt and Amir ,saw the word ‘appeal’ and thought of using it.

  2. Great point Rathesh!!

    I think the fact that they don’t seem to be greatful to still have a second chance is worrying. I’m also a bit concerned that the tribunal appear to be of the view that ICC’s code of conduct is too strict.

    Personally I think the outcomes are fair for the bowlers, 5 years gives Amir a 2nd chance, it should signal the end of Asif who has previous.

    As for Butt, I can’t make my mind up, as captain he had more responsibility, especially to the younger players. I suppose that as we don’t really know who the ringleader was, it’s harder to judge. If Butt was the ringleader, then he has got off lightly in my view.

  3. I’m mostly fine with the verdicts. I’d in fact support harsher verdicts for Butt and Asif. However, I can’t help feeling sorry for Amir with what is almost certainly a life ban.

  4. All this could’ve been avoided if one realises that curry really is a stove-top dish and has no place in the oven.

    Oh, and I don’t support any of these bans. If this verdict stands, lets not delude ourselves into thinking we are giving these young fellows a “second chance”. Five years for a fast bowler is almost half a lifetime, and this is pretty much the end of the road for Asif. It is conceivable Amir might be back, but I doubt it.

    Regarding the “crimes” themselves: Unlike many other people, I don’t really feel “let down” by their actions, and feel “cricket is not the same again”. I don’t romanticize sport, and consequently, it doesn’t surprise me that it has the same pitfalls as any other human endeavour where man’s weakness can be exploited.

    Amir should not have been shown the door.

  5. There’s no reason to feel sorry for any of them. They haven’t been locked up (yet) or denied any of the freedom that everyone else in the world has to earn a living, find a good life, etc. All that has happened is that they have lost an amazing opportunity that they were fortunate to have been given. Now they can be just like me, who is also denied the chance to make a small fortune from playing cricket (by not being any good at it).

    They cheated the set of people who gave them that extra opportunity, and they did so for their own gain. Cricket now wants nothing to do with them, for five years at least. Tough. What did they expect?

    As the article says, it is a particularly strong version of stupidity that makes someone do this.

  6. Big difference between throwing a game and bowling the odd no ball in a test match.

    In no way am I downplaying the significance of what these guys have done but I wouldn’t they ‘cheated’ in a sporting sense.

  7. I agree with e normous. I just didn’t want to be the first one to say it. They should just be forced to play for a wage that is just enough to persuade them to stay in the game for the next 5 years.

  8. Just for my own understanding, those of you who still want to see Asif and Amir play; how much piss are they allowed to take before they get meaningfully punished?

    A fine wouldn’t be a punishment, all they’d do is raise the prices they charge the bookmakers next time time to cover the costs of the fine. Equally a short ban wouldn’t matter as they play for Pakistan; being excluded from the side for no obvious reason for short periods is an occupational hazard.

    So as the only meaningful punishment is a long ban, how much do they have to devalue a match before they deserve it? 10 no balls? 20? Getting run out on a certain number of runs, what?

  9. You can watch them play if you want to. What you can’t do ever again is believe that what they are doing is real.

    “Asif comes in a bowls and oooh what a delivery – swung in and nipped away off the seam. Close, the batsman lucky to survive that one. How will he handle the next one I wonder? Asif again up to the stumps and – well what a comeback that was. He’s just lifted him over mid-on for a huge six. What a shot! I certainly didn’t expect that Asif had been told to overpitch one so early in the over. I was sure that the betting interests would have had the last ball of this over as the one hit for six. What a turn-up. And I’m just getting the news in my ear that Stone Cold Steve Austin has won a controversial bout against The Edge. What a day for sporting upsets this is turning into.”

  10. The fact that they are talking about appeal shows how morally coded they are. There is no remorse at all!

    There is no saying they’ll not be puppets in Azhar Saeed’s hand(No, the spellling isnt wrong – someone or the other belonging to the brotherhood of Mazhar Saeed or whoever) again. Chances are they are being financed by the cartel now to appeal and come back to Cricket. Life ban was needed. That would have saved future Ameers as Sambit Bal observed. Sometimes, justice cant be seen in isolation. Sacrificing one Ameer for the future of Pak Cricket was worth it. Too bad they didnt do it

  11. If Amir want to play again after 5 years, he should adopt moral courage like Hansie Cronje and should apologize for his negative crime openly infront of his fans. Then he should start think again for playing after 5 years. But the compulsion is clean and transparent character.

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