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Another Pakistan cricket scandal: Surely, enough is enough…

September 18, 2010

Surely in the sheer interests of actually retaining some kind of respect for cricket, the latest betting scandal has to be the final straw.

I appreciate that there are contracts worth a lot of money tied into everything to do with the remaining two One Day Internationals. Lord’s and the Rose Bowl will have been looking forward to the England games as potential money spinners; maybe not Lord’s so much but definitely the Rose Bowl. Sky Sports prides itself on being the home of all things English cricket and there are plenty of expensive sponsorships deals that won’t be helped by not being shown on television but surely, they can look beyond the money to see the bigger picture of cricket.

Cardiff struggled to sell tickets for the usually popular Twenty20 games after the first scandal and it won’t get much easier if fans start thinking the outcome has already been decided because of big pay-offs promised to the corrupt. Why weren’t the restricted matches cancelled there and then?

Here we are, not even weeks since the initial betting scandal blew up on the final morning of the last Test match and more untoward behaviour is being insinuated. This is in a match that didn’t feature Mohammed Aamir, Salman Butt, Mohammad Asif or Wahab Riaz; the four players apparently responsible for the misleading behaviour. That can only mean that even more of the Pakistan squad have been corrupted.

The problem will not be sorted by simply suspending every player that is caught out. A full investigation is needed; without any on-field distractions or commitment. With the 2011 ICC World Cup on the horizon, a decision should be made to simply shut it all down for now and launch into a proper investigation.

The final two matches are effectively meaningless now. Pakistan could play the greatest ODIs in the history of cricket and no-one will care. There will be little to no atmosphere at the games. This tour has already been tarnished with the brush of cricket and nothing on the pitch in the next week will change that.

And if it does go ahead… Who can Pakistan choose in their line-up? If they pick the same line-up as Friday night then everyone in attendance at Lord’s will be trying to out the apparent cheaters. And if they drop anyone; even if only for legitimate playing reasons, they will be labelled as the latest criminal.

The whole thing is a mess. Enough is enough.

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