Ian Baker - Pakistan must be brought to justice
31 Aug 2010 - 09:39:56
I was so sickened by the News of the World expose of Pakistan cricketers that I struggled to sleep on Saturday night.
A fine piece of journalism which caught a fixer red-handed with Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Amir seemingly pawns in his game.
The loss of three runs by arranged no balls might not sound like much but what else had been arranged? What else had fans paying £90 a ticket been cheated out of?
It put all England's summer achievements in doubt and also makes me, like millions of cricket fans all around the world, very angry.
When match fixing (or spot fixing as it has been called) allegations occur in any sport, it makes it unwatchable. No-one cares about the result because it may have been fixed. No-one cared about this Test result following the NOTW report.
With no reporting commitments on Sunday, I refused to even watch the end of the Test on telly, such was my anger. Cricket felt so cheap and dirty and it still does despite a few days passing since and I cannot even bear to hear the names of the accused mentioned.
It is why the ECB should show some backbone and cancel the two Twenty20 and five ODIs with Pakistan NOW. Fans' interest in these matches has waned now and it is difficult to see how cricket will emerge with any strength following them.
The ECB and the venues themselves could lose £12 million by the cancellations. So what? Morality means more than that and it will be a big stand to tell those that have cheated the game where to go.
I'm sure Scotland, Ireland and the Netherlands would love a couple of hastily arranged games each and that could recoup some of the £12 million if money really is such a big issue.
The NOTW evidence seems damning enough but clearly further investigations need to be made before deciding the overall punishments. Harsh punishments need to be handed out for those categorically guilty.
Why should the likes of Stuart Broad feel his wonderful maiden hundred is tainted? Why should fans be upset about seeing Graeme Swann take nine wickets in a match?
And why is it fair that millions suffer because of the greed of a handful of crooks?
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