Monday, August 30, 2010


Long-time readers of this blog would know that it's been a while since I last posted anything about cricket. In fact, my last cricket-related post was all the way back in May, which was right after the leakage of the inquiry committee hearings into our humiliating tour of Australia, and even that was about the alleged hygiene of the cricketers. Simply, I saw no point in endlessly moaning and whining about their abysmal failures as sportsmen and the even more abysmal state of the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB)'s management.

But how on earth could I possibly ignore what has now happened? It has shaken most of Pakistan, and perhaps the entire cricketing world, to its core.

(Just in case, highly unlikely, that you are reading this from a different planet, here is what happened. And here. And here. And here. I don't have the stomach to repeat it.)

Mazhar Majeed: Mr Fix-it-All (source: NOTW)

But what can one really say any more that has not already been said? Two of the most comprehensive and well-written Pakistani responses by Five Rupees and Dawn blogger Farooq Nomani have probably said it all. Nomani's piece's title actually says it all: "How Low?" Seriously, the only response I really want to make, is the response I made when I first became aware of the story as it broke: Fuck them, fuck them all. Apologies for the crudeness, but there is simply no other way to convey the feeling one has having once again placed one's hopes and faith in someone, after having been burnt and let down before, only to again see the futility of it all. This was supposed to be the side that one was supporting through its dark times because it was in the process of rebuilding with young blood!

Green with Greed: (L-R) Asif, Butt, Amir, Akmal (source: NOTW)

I mean, if the worst flood devastation in our history were not bad enough, if millions of people without shelter and food and clothing were not bad enough, if the prospect of the country going economically under were not bad enough, if the barbaric mob violence and apathy in Sialkot were not bad enough, if the continued brutal 'target killing' of poor labourers and political activists in Karachi were not bad enough, if the continuing alienation of the Baloch were not bad enough, if the Taliban atrocities in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and the global war being fought in the Tribal Areas were not bad enough, if the terrorist attacks all over Pakistan were not bad enough, if the abuse and massacre of our religious minorities were not bad enough, if the apathy of our elite and establishment were not bad enough, we have to contend with this petty and shameless greed rubbed in our face as well?

Can we get a fucking break?

Incidentally, for those who are spinning this as a concocted ploy by the English press always out to 'get us' or holding out hope that there is no conclusive legal proof to convict 'our boys', I have just one thing to say to you: get your heads out of your asses. People in the know and even sports journalists were talking about Kamran Akmal and others being on the take for quite a while now - hell, during the Edgbaston Test one former cricketer even made similarly correct predictions about upcoming overs as detailed in the sting operation by The News of the World now, based, he said, on 'rumours' he had heard - the only difference was nobody had this kind of proof. And nobody was willing to bell the cat.

You know the old saying about chickens coming home to roost? That's what has happened to us. In every single awful thing that has happened to Pakistan recently that I have mentioned above. In this particular case, as Five Rupees puts it:

"I would argue that one of the main reasons we find ourselves in this mess is that we didn’t take care of business when we should have, in the mid and late 1990s. Everybody else did. The Saffies banned Cronje, and took stern action against everyone else (Herschelle Gibbs was banned temporarily for the mere fact of not disclosing that his captain had asked him to partake). The Aussies punished Shane Warne and Mark Waugh for disclosing weather information. The Indians banned Azharuddin and Jadeja. What did we do? We swept everything under the carpet. Only Salim Malik was banned, and really, his career was over anyway. Everyone else involved, including guys like Wasim Akram, were given light punishments, mere slaps on the wrist, despite overwhelming evidence against them (Ata-ur-Rehman wrote a sworn affidavit in which he alleged that Wasim asked him to bowl badly). Why did we do this? Simple, because we were afraid of what it would do to our cricket team. Rightfully so, I might add, since everyone from Wasim to Waqar to Inzi to Mushie was involved, in some way. But we took the shortcut then, and are paying for it now, because by not punishing it, we encouraged it."

Catch Them Young: Fixer Majeed hands over jacket with cash to Wahab Riaz, left, while Umar Amin looks on (source: NOTW)

There are bound to be questions raised about how the team selection may also have been manipulated to ensure the 'right kinds' of people in the team. Why for example had the Pakistan team become mainly a Central Punjab XI, why were certain undeserving players like Wahab Riaz (also implicated in this scandal) brought into the team above more deserving bowlers, why Afridi actually walked out of the captaincy (according to the alleged fixer Majeed, most of the players "wanted to f*** up Afridi because he's trying to f*** up things for them"), why there was such a haste to send the new wicketkeeper Zulqarnain Haider home (a report today in Jang claims that not only was he not given the customary 'test cap' he was handed a ticket back as soon as he came out of the clinic even though he had he had been hopeful he would be all right in a few days), why perennial keeper-in-reserve Sarfaraz Ahmed was not called up even if Haider had to be sent home, and why certain players like Fawad Alam continued to be kept out of the playing eleven.

But let's not kid ourselves that the current sorry lot at the PCB would ever be willing to tackle these questions or take the drastic structural actions required. They are part of the problem, not the solution. And no change can come about unless you recognize how deep the rot runs.

The worst part is not even that all of this shit is happening to Pakistan. The worst part is we steadfastly refuse to learn from our own history.


Anonymous said...

Agreed. It is so disappointing and heartbreaking at the same time.

Also, check this out:

karachikhatmal said...

i think the question you are asking, or should be asking, is when will we admit the fault lies in us. not as a nation - cuz thats easy enough to do - but as individuals.

terrorism - a manifestation of our own abuses to even our own family - how many times have we glowered at our sisters and their slipping dupattas? how many times have we forced the servant to heat our food when its been 18 hours since he started working?

lawlessness - how many of us break red lights every day - no fuck that. how many people go two days without breaking a single traffic violation. when we can't even uphold the basic laws of our society, why do we express shock at someone bowling one no-ball out of a blinding spell?

elitist apathy - why did this scandal affect me far more viscerally than any of the floods?

regionalism - we mock the short-sightedness of our institutions, yet we forget about the condescension us 'parhay-likhay' types reserve for zaid hamid sympathisers or anyone whose views are not compatible to ours. we might rationalize that we've read and studied more than them, but that doesn't justify the vitriol we reserve for them.

i could go on, but you get the picture.

i would argue that this represents the greatest opportunity to us chattering-classes. never before has so much of the future appeared so bleak. which means never before have we had the opportunity to connect and unite. right now all of us - from the farmer and his drowning family to the orphaned ahmedi to the disconsolate cricket fan - feels the world closing down. we have something in common, let's make it count.

history will judge us by our response to this crisis. we can't let it drown in self-pity and calls for revolution until we change ourselves. you and me.

Anonymous said...

Despite the shame his act has brought upon us, we all feel bad for Mohd Amir. After all, he is extremely talented and only 18!
How mature were we at that age?
We all make mistakes in life- some so grave, we really wish we could rewind time and scratch them.
But we're all humans and hence, prone to error.
Wish somehow we could just get past this, and let tomorrow be a new day.
PS.Let's be positive and believe that the boys have learned their lesson the tough way.

Annie said...

very emotional post. lagta hai koi marr gaya xyz

Yusaf Khan said...

I generally don't manufacture conspiracy theories but a few things have been really bugging me since the Sydney test and this match fixing video has allowed me to connect the dots:
- After winning the T20 world cup at Lords, there was a rebellion against Younis Khan, that rebellion was planned in the hotel room of Yawar Saeed in Sri lanka. Younis Khan ended up leaving the team and still cannot find his way back. One of the best test batsmen with an average above 50; yet PCB chose Umar Amin, Azhar Ali and Umar Akmal ahead of Younis.
- Everyone and the their grand mothers have been bitching about Ijaz Butt(chairman PCB), the brother in law of our defence minister, but Zardari continuously backs him no matter what. Also, Yawar Saeed is Ijaz Butt's man and has been the team manager for at least 2-3 years. I would not be surprised if this gambling cartel include some Pakistani big wigs. After all, one can make a massive killing in spot betting. For example to predict a no ball in a test match where 90 overs are bowled has a probability of 1/540. Such a contract if priced properly should have staggering odds - to get it right its like a lottery ticket i.e. you will make a killing. To be on such a syndicate is akin to knowing the winning lottery number from before. If a real investigation is done, which it might as it is being done by Scotland Yard; I think we might get a few big names from Pakistan.

Yusaf Khan said...

You know what I am really upset about - its the Sydney test. This is because I actually stayed up the whole night thinking we will beat AUS in AUS. Mr. fixer Majeed is then quoted by cricinfo as, "Let me tell you the last Test we did. It was the second Test against Australia in Sydney," he told the undercover reporter. "Australia had two more wickets left. They had a lead of 10 runs, yeah. And Pakistan had all their wickets remaining. The odds for Pakistan to lose that match, for Australia to win that match, were I think 40 to 1.

"We let them get up to 150 then everyone lost their wickets," Majeed revealed. ''That one we made £1.3 [million]. But that's what I mean, you can get up to a million. Tests is where the biggest money is because those situations arise.''

I actually had a few tears in my eyes when we lost that test. And today I found out that we sold that test (and my sleep and tears) for £1.3 million.

TLW said...

Yes, Cafe Pyala, we realise you guys care a lot about cricket. But since the media in Pakistan is your remit how about a look-see into the beating up of the poor reporter who captured the Sialkot lynching footage. If the poor guys arms were fractured, this means that we have a serious attack from whatever powers-that-be in Sialkot.

Plus it also adds to the abysmal state of press freedoms in Pakistan, as well as sending an implicit warning against the free flow of information in the country.

TLW said...

Fracturing of arms, thrashing, et al. mentioned in the Dawn article

AA said...

Zaradari and Ijaz Butt's involvement might explain why Ijaz Butt remains in his seat.

I don't follow cricket religiously but winning and losing matters to me. And to think of the collective anguish we have all felt at their abysmal and unpredictable performances - the inexplicable collapses and all. We were all set up. Who knows how many times.

And Aamir's age is not a factor. Any child knows what greed and fraud is. The amount being offered was several times more than the match fees (which they happily donated to flood victims last week.) Swiss accounts!

Anonymous 5:55, you sound like you don't know the magnitude of the disaster this has brought to Pakistani cricket, and like Mohammad Aamir is likely to recover his credibility soon.

They should be tried for treason, I say.

Alpha Za said...

I'm with you. Fuck this.

kay-without a tee! said...

Yeah I agree, its one big fuck-mess and I think its high time someone roasts these guy's asses the way they deserve it. I think they might use Aamer as a sympathy gaining pawn. He has promised talented performances, and he's so young, so people would find excuses for him and let him get off this easy. And because Aamer can get off without a lifeban or a serious charge, so can the others. So its going to be a trailing scapegoat.What say?

P.S. did u hear veena malik backbite Md Asif last night on Kamran's show?

anoop said...

You can always trust the PCB to do the wrong thing. I bet there will be no lifebans.

Aamer is 18 now and will bowl for Pakistan in his 20's.

Anonymous said...

Dear All!!
I expected the Pyala to diagnose the problem correctly but i think this time round they have missed the whole point. all the cricketers are just the true representatives of the true, real and non-mythical Pakistan. We just have one more true exposition of our true values, ethos and character. this is happening in every nook and cranny of the country on daily basis. the problem with the cricketers is that thier shenanigans are taking place in full view of the media galre.

All those who are crying themselves hoarse, have done many more shameful things to this nation than these cricketers but no, the poor boys need to hanged because they were caught in an alien land.

we are a nation of hypocrites. lets admit it and then move on to put things right....if we really wish to do that.

P.S. I saw the viewers' comments bar on the Geo News a day after the story was reported. A predominant majority of the comments suggested lynching for the players, one way or the other, without giving a thought to the fact that almost all of them would have done exactly the same thing as the players did.

Anonymous said...

Anon 11:18: Speak for yourself please.

I have better friends and family than the sorry bunch of greedy idiots like Asif and the rest. They are Pakistanis too. I base my opinion of the nation on my friends, colleagues and family because I know and deal with them in person and have seen their attitudes and life choices during trying times.

I wouldn't get overcharged by the round the clock rhetoric on tv shows. They get paid to keep it chaotic.

It's easy to generalize. It simplifies argument, puts your mind at ease, like you have it all figured out.

Using the same approach, I guess I should think all Austrians are incestuous beasts, all French women kill their newborns and all Americans are unreasonably Islamophobic.

Why is everyone so quick to label Pakistani nation? AND must have a go at describing the Pakistani nation as one homogeneous group? It's a diverse bunch that can't be explained away in a single episode. Hardly any nation can be. And sorry, no single description has fit as yet.

karachikhatmal said...

Anon 01:21:

wow i'd love to meet you and your family and friends who have completed the miracle of managing to avoid being extractive in a country whose whole system is predicated on supporting a sliver of fat cats on the backs of the silent wretched masses.

Anon 01:21 said...

See what I mean Karachikhatmal? You had a go at describing us too. It's irresistible, that kinda self loathing. Hai na? :-)

karachikhatmal said...

Anon 1:21

dude, i don't want to get into a flame war. i find it furstrating that our nation's various fragments are always united in their denial, and their refusal to take responsibility, be it terrorism, corruption, nepotism etc.

as i said, we can start by observing basic civil gestures, like obeying traffic lights, observing ethical practices with our servants etc.

if you are someone who has never indulged in these things, i apologize. i am wrong. i based my observations on my own life. thats a limited sample.

this is not self-loathing. its self-reflexivity. but if you think it is, i apologize for painting you in that category.

Yusaf Khan said...

I don't think Mohammad Aamer was involved in the match fixing. I think he was ordered by Salman Butt to bowl a no ball bouncer to scare the shit out of the batsman. Which he did.

I am curious about the mofo who actually agrees to take the other side of the bet. If someone comes to me and says that I want to wage £10 that the 6th ball of the 10th over will be a no-ball and you give me odds of 200 to 1. I would be like FUCK OFF! why would I sell that bet? I mean you have to be a real fucking moron to sell that lottery ticket.

Veena Malik is an absolute Moron. She is implicating herself in this criminal conspiracy.

Anonymous said...

I’m Sadia From Lahore. I use to work for the Daily News for few years back.

” The Guru ” real name is Kamran Khan. Worked with many famous names including Criss Angel & David Blane in magic for over 15 years now. who used to be Veena Malik’s so called close friend & a big-shot of Lahore (Pakistan). Actress Veena is shown waking up from a bed (most probably in a hotel room) and the guy talking to someone on the phone and telling the guy that he slept at his home. Many time Veena is been seen with kamran khan driving in the car and kissing. few times her car been parked out side kamran khan house in DHA Lahore EE Sector whole night. Just a friend ? then why spending the night at his home .?

Veena also contacted kamran khan many times regarding the problems that is facing related to marriage. Kamran Khan and Veena was seen in the car parked in front of the market both holding each other in the back seat of the car last saturday in DHA Lahore Market Before The Big Boss Show Started.

Recently we also discovered that he has a website with name of ” Kamran Khan Store “, from where he deals with clients.

just simply search on google ” kamran khan store ” and you will see what i’m talking about.

Veena have stayed in Glasgow Scotland At Kamran Khan House Many time. In almost every interview she said he love Glasgow Scotland but the truth was she loved Kamran Khan the CEO of ” kamran khan store “. During her visit in Glasgow she’s been caught many times kissing him, laying down in his arms, car been parked at the beach.

On one of the phone call which was recorded in 2004, Kamran Khan talking to meera deciding to moving back to Pakistan in that way it will be more easier for them to see each other. Kamran Khan Have Moved to EE Block in DHA Lahore i wounder why ?. Veena also contacted kamran khan many times regarding the problems that is facing related to marriage. Kamran Khan and Veena was seen in the car parked in front of the market both holding each other in the back seat of the car last saturday in DHA Lahore Market. When we tried to the their pictures while they were kissing each other, they took off.