30 08 2010

It’s a funny place the cricketing world today. With so many allegations, arrests and further information surfacing of nefarious dealings over the past 18 months – you would think that we here at the Compulsive Hooker would not struggle for a topic to write about. Strangely, however, we are.

Deciding what to write is not usually difficult for us as normally a topic suggests itself over the course of the previous day or having glanced at the results and reports. From this base the article grows in an organic fashion as we write, eventually ending up as something fairly different from how we envisaged it at the start.

Today, however, is different and sadly this is a reflection on just how disillusioned we are feeling at this point in time. The fear is that any article we write on the subject today will end up being a diatribe of righteousness and anger; calling for all sorts of retribution in the manner of a crowd at a trial of an alleged witch in the 15th century. Not for nothing has the phrase ‘witch hunt’ been coined after all and, it has to be remembered, these are still only allegations. So taking a deep breath and stepping back for a moment, let us consider what it would mean if all these allegations are to be proven true.

For Mohammad Amir, undoubtedly at this stage the one for whom the evidence looks the worst, it would be nothing short of a tragedy. Amir is the youngest ever bowler to 50 test match wickets and, throughout the past year, some of his bowling has been nothing short of brilliant. For an 18 year old to be that good (apart from provoking the usual jealousies amongst other lesser sportsman of an older vintage) suggests that Pakistan had a potential all time great on their hands. Someone to be ranked up alongside the two W’s, Wasim and Waqar, in the pantheon of Pakistani bowling.

Many people are calling for life bans for all players involved but in our view, particularly in Amir’s case, there are perhaps a couple of mitigating factors. If there are as many as seven players involved as has been mentioned in the media over the past day or two – as a junior member of the side, being only 18 and undoubtedly naive, it is possible to conceive of a situation where you feel forced into doing these things. If this can be shown to be the case then perhaps a lighter punishment is warranted – a five year ban for example. However if Amir is shown to have willingly taken part and having been fully aware of the consequences then it would be difficult to argue against a life ban. Either way it is a tragedy for cricket and certainly a personal tragedy – whether culpable or not – for Mohamed Amir.

The Compulsive Hooker’s sympathy does not extend to anyone else involved as Asif and Butt are two senior players who should have undoubtedly known better. We hope that Asif is proved to be not guilty as world cricket needs all the top quality fast bowlers it can get. Sadly however we are not holding out too much hope and if proven these allegations deserve a life ban.

One further thing that struck us as odd was the press conference given by Salman Butt and the manager Yawar Saeed after the game. Undoubtedly nervous and unprepared for what awaited him the answers he gave to direct questions with regard to his guilt are strange. Usual practice in these situations is for the people involved to deny everything (certainly if innocent but still often if guilty) whereas Butt preceded to evade giving a direct answer to any of the questions. Strange tactics for someone who we hope is innocent!

Well one positive thing has come out of this anyway – we have learnt how to write an article without having an idea to start with… We just hope we haven’t disappointed you on the quality! We would be interested to hear your views on suitable punishments for anyone caught up in this? Life ban, 5 years etc… what are you thoughts?




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