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What The Fix

August 30, 2010

Old news. That is what I get for completely shutting out everything on a Sunday. No newspaper, no internet, no tv, no awake time.

Rumours are never far away when Pakistan are playing; unfortunately the harshest come from some of their own. We choose to ignore such fucks and all other fucks too, and believe that this generation knows better. They saw the 2000 scandal, it’s repercussions, they have the sense and a desire to do justice to their own promise.

Butt was probably the best option for captaincy they had after Younis Khan. He wasn’t involved or at least was not named in the many situations the team went through in Australia. He had a clean slate, he was someone his teammates could go to without being afraid of slotted into a faction. With his many journeys in and out of the team despite having been consistent, he was a player you thought would guide the youngsters and instill a work ethos.

Results against Australia and England when they’d been written off proved that the team could do it, they could win games. That they were trying their best to rise above the instability around and that with some more experience under the belt they’d be as consistent a threat as the next team.

Gung-ho Aamer was one of the new hopes, and more so after Umar Akmal tried to throw his weight around post Sydney. Asif was back to picking up wickets after serving time like nothing had happened. Alongwith Umar Gul, the way these guys got together to do a great job for Pakistan even when the batting repeatedly failed was a good sign.

That this news broke after England’s splendid fightback demeans their game as well. Even the word of a commission set up to investigate the depth of this cannot be taken as a whole. You’re left wondering just what the players named were thinking.

Perhaps this was on their minds. They probably justified it thinking it’s harmless and it’s alright as long as they tried their heart out with every other ball they bowled. That as long as it didn’t make a difference to the overall result of the match, it’s harmless.

But it’s not, not even if it stopped there. Suspicions over that great big insult to the game, match fixing will always remain plausible after that. Your credibility as a player is done for and your career as good as over.

That’s the catch. Asif himself has risen from the dead once and you can’t be sure he’ll do it again. Which means others too can follow in his footsteps. Stranger things have happened and they will continue to happen.

Ideally, a step like this could be a solution. Give the players no excuse. If the board functioned reasonably and if the players hadn’t tried using misusing their power on the field.

But then nothing here is ideal. A total clean up even if it meant losing these guys forever will probably translate into 6 months of bans, millions of rupees in bans and everything back on track once they’ve paid up heavy fines and greased the right palms. Considering the amounts they get fined and the frequency of it, the light shed on how much they earn is another shocker.

So here’s to burning indignant pieces on the need for a purgatory, sequitur lists of ways to fix international cricket/folks responsible for the travesty, million rupee fines, 2 year lifetime bans, sound bytes and not much else.

And this song

Life’s a piece of shit
When you look at it
Life’s a laugh and death’s a joke, it’s true.
You’ll see it’s all a show
Keep ’em laughing as you go
Just remember that the last laugh is on you.

And always look on the bright side of life…

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