Would The Decision Against The Pakistanis Have Been Different Had Those Found Guilty Been From A Western Country And Non Minority ?
Posted on November 6th, 2011

Top Spin By Suni

November 4th 2011

The recent high court verdict of ” guilty !” returned by the presiding judge in the Spot Fixing Allegations case seems as though he was hell bent on convicting the Pakustanis onvolved regardless of many principles involving fairplay and justice.

Despite the many arguments in favour of the concept such as, “they are deliberate cheats, they have brought the game to disrepute etc. etc. as waves of rhetoric hit the fan.. one wonders whether there has been a huge double standard and miscarriage of justice involved and whether the case was tried and concluded indicting and jailing the Pakistanis despite no unanimous verdict by the jury initially, where the judge has virtually forced them towards a majority decision ~ a double standard by itself and also remembering the past incidents of similar or greater infamy and indemnity where the culprits walked free after heavy fines.” Hmm but they were not brown skinned Pakistanis but members of the great white race” piped one onlooker in the crowd outside the Court in Southwark where the trial was conducted and leaves little to the imagination that he was probably right!

ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ It is hoped by many who demand fairplay and justice that based on the apparent double standard involved, “one for whites and another for mites ! ” these convictions will be overturned on appeal and that the Judge involved does some soul searching as he has probably ( whether inadvertently or not!) destroyed the lives and families of these players some from very humble backgrounds who in all probabilities were coerced or tempted with lucrative payouts maybe but not altogether proven in cast iron fashion and methods and criteria used which at times one would deem inadmissable in a Court of Law! and despite no game lost as a result or any serious harm done if viewed in greater perspective.

ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ The Judge in question seems to have exacted a pound of flesh in bipartisan judgement where one needs to look at the lopsidedness of the judgement more closely beyond videos which could have been hazy and inconclusive, the chief accuser and finger pointer none other than a low priority albeit cheaply sensational local rag called ‘The News of The World’ a kind of barmaid’s bible which curiously is now defunct and gone out of business and the whole episode not only controversial but shocking from the standpoint of how ruthless the judgements have been and the impact it has had on those directly affected by it.

ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ As highlighted in a recent international news item posted on the website Cricinfo and quoted here,” Contrary to suggestions that cheating in cricket is something new and alien, however, there has always been tension between the image and the reality of this highly competitive game. The phrase ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”¹…”ItƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s just not cricket!ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢, employed to complain about underhand behaviour in any walk of life, ignores the fact that cheating is as old as cricket itself ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢¢”š¬…” and cheating to win the match, not just some money.

In one of his ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”¹…”FlashmanƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢ novels, George MacDonald Fraser gives a fictionalised but convincing account of the skulduggery and violence in a period one-on-one cricket match played for a wager between two Victorian gents. While cricketing convention allowed English Gentleman team captains to ignore umpiresƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢ decisions, the Players introduced tactics such as pitch-altering and ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”¹…”sledgingƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢ opponents. From the England teamƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s infamous ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”¹…”bodylineƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢ bowling of the 1930s to the widespread ball-tampering of the modern age, cheating really has been cricket.

And in line with cricketƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s original imperial ethos of the white-trousered-manƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s burden, there has always been a dose of racial double standards and hypocrisy in attitudes to rule-bending and breaking. Just this week, everybody has been reminded again of the scandal when Pakistan refused to take the field against England in 2006 after being accused of ball-tampering. Yet the occasion almost a decade earlier when England captain Mike Atherton was apparently caught tampering with a ball has strangely been missing from many of the mediaƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s lists of cricketing scandals.

As for match-fixing and involvement with dodgy betting syndicates and bookmakers, the media focus on this as a Pakistani problem should not blind us to the fact that the biggest scandals unearthed involved South AfricaƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s iconic captain Hanse Cronje, banned for life for taking bookiesƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢ bribes worth $100,000, and the Australian greats Shane Warne and Mark Waugh, fined in 1995 after admitting giving information on ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”¹…”the weatherƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢ to an Indian called ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”¹…”John the BookmakerƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢. The Australian cricket board kept that affair a secret for three years. (Away from cricket, meanwhile, the former Southampton and England football star ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”¹…”SaintƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢ Matt Le Tissier admitted in his recent autobiography to being part of an attempted spot-betting scam in the 1990s, which involved him deliberately trying to kick the ball out for a throw-in straight from the kick off. Nobody seemed too outraged by the revelation from good old ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”¹…”Le TissƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢.)

These days the English establishment has lost not only its Empire but its old air of self-belief and assured sense of whatƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s right and wrong with the world. This helps to explain the pained overreaction to allegations that some foreigners have been messing with what remains of the sacred rules. But more importantly perhaps, some have seized upon the brewing Pakistan ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”¹…”bettingƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢ scandal as an opportunity to show off ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”¹…”ourƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢ lasting national characteristic of moral, if not necessarily sporting, superiority. The fact that todayƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s cricket betting scandals tend to focus on the Indian sub-continent, where cricket is the only game and illegal bookmakers abound, makes it easier to exploit the crisis in this way. The implicit message is that we might not know quite who we are any more, but we know weƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢re not like them.

Hence the tendency to treat the recent alleged offences as if they were Pakistani national characteristics, forgetting the many other instances of cheating. And never mind the fact that two Essex county players were also arrested for alleged ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”¹…”spot-fixingƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢ earlier this year, one of whom was an Englishman, Romford born-and-bred.

LetƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s not be naive enough to imagine that cricket is immune to cheating, professional fouls and betting scams; where there is sport and gambling, legal or otherwise, the one sure thing is that there will be attempted chicanery. And letƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s not be pompous or hypocritical enough to imagine or pretend that only Johnny (or Mohammed) Foreigner would stoop so low.

But we need not be so cynical either as to suppose that all cricketers ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢¢”š¬…” or even all Pakistani cricketers ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢¢”š¬…” are bent, or that sport is irredeemably tarnished by these affairs.” end quote which seems to say much for how unfair this trial may have been!!

ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ Perhaps it would be fair to all should these harsh decisions against Butt, Amir, Asif and the alleged betmaker be reversed, their fines however implemented and they be given suspended sentences of bans for a time, in good faith and the matter closed. There are not hard core criminals but young players who can be re-habilitated into accepting the greater responsibilities of the game it is hoped and not guillotined for life!

Otherwise there will be many diversities of thought about whether the white judge who sentenced these hapless and misguided players from a Third World Country had a streak of bigotry in him given how hard and harsh he seems to have been in his execution of justice and how intently he has pursued them whilst other cases of similar or greater skullduggery were not deemed jailable and virtually swept under the carpet !

One Response to “Would The Decision Against The Pakistanis Have Been Different Had Those Found Guilty Been From A Western Country And Non Minority ?”

  1. Marco Says:

    Top Spin indeed!

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