Ian Baker - Cricket's summer of discontent lingers on
22 Sep 2010 - 11:20:45
At Lord's on Monday there were plenty of signs advertising 'MCC Spirit of Cricket'.
The irony was lost on no-one. Cricket being played without scandal had now gone. Journalists spent the day investigating off the field issues - match fixing, spot fixing, childish accusations, Jonathan Trott and Wahab Riaz handbags.
Anything but the cricket. The great game was the furthest from anyone's mind. The result was meaningless, this series does not mean a jot.
And still we go on.
This week's final rubber at the Rose Bowl should be an exciting encounter between two entertaining one-day sides. But it is not.
Fans and players just want Pakistan to get on the plane home, the feeling that everyone is being cheated by the saga that has ruined a whole summer of cricket.
Good riddance, don't come back, let's think about clean cricket ahead including an exciting Ashes tour.
England say that carrying on with the remaining matches is the right thing to do. I don't agree.
Cricket's reputation is getting even worse as everyone's frustration boils over.
Can you really blame Trott for getting frustrated? No you can't. England should simply have refused to play.
No more so is there a reminder that fans have been cheated this summer than Andrew Flintoff's retirement from cricket.
That prompted various highlights packages looking back at Flintoff's Ashes - that halcyon summer of 2005 where everything cricket touched turned to gold.
It was on the front page and back pages for good reasons and clean as a whistle too - played hard and as competitive as it gets but very fairly too.
Now the game has simply fallen apart. England won the World Twenty20 this summer and have a shot at winning their sixth series of the season.
That won't be remembered in years to come. People will not look back on the giant strides England under Andy Flower and Andrew Strauss.
No, they will look back on a summer damaged beyond recognition - by match fixing slurs and the complete breakdown of relations between England and Pakistan.
And just at this moment, I feel disgusted to be such an avid follower of the game.