Thursday, January 13, 2011

Trio should have denied charges right away

The newest revelations made by the British tabloid News of the World has Pakistan cricket in turmoil again. Cricket followers in Pakistan are trying to fathom the fact that their stars were involved in the embarrassing spot fixing scandals. The latest revelations have Yasir Hameed, the Pakistan opener going berserk with claims that all Pakistan matches are fixed and that he too was offered 150,000 pounds by match fixers.
This crisis has gone from bad to worse for cricket lovers in Pakistan and the end is nowhere in sight. People are looking for scapegoats while blaming everyone from the players, to the cricket board and to the tabloid News of the World. In all this blame game, it makes me wonder whether things would have panned out differently if the players would have denied the allegation right away.
I was initially surprised that at the press conference after the Lord’s test ended, the Pakistan captain, Salman Butt when asked about the spot fixing accusations did not robustly denied all the allegations right away. Instead he gazed at the apparently deaf team manager (75 year old Yawar Saeed), as if looking to him for direction regarding what to say. The combo of team manager and team captain came out with a half hearted answers to the media men questions. There should have been an undisputed and united statement from all the players accused denying all allegations.
Another question that needs answering is why the players and the PCB did not file a defamation case against News of the World when they knew that they are being framed?
If the players are undeniably not guilty and they think they are innocent, then they should have by now sued the News of the World tabloid. I don't think they should delay this further. We've seen Younus Khan telling his legal representatives to initiate legal actions against The Telegraph newspaper. This is precisely what the three Pakistani cricketers and their legal team should have done.
Picture Courtesy: Times of Pakistan
A fair share of the fault lies with the PCB for their handling of this crisis. That the board is run by incompetent people is no secret to the public but in a crisis like this when national honor is at stake, our senile PCB Chief is nowhere to be seen. Instead of the cricketing boss we have one of the most corrupt diplomat and Pakistan’s High Commissioner to UK Wajid Shamsul Hassan (of the Swiss file saga) shooting idiocies left, right and center while defending the players.
The fact that the trio or the PCB have not come out and powerfully denied the allegations or brought legal proceedings against the News of the World makes them guilty in the eyes of the public, and not just Pakistani public, people all over the globe are pointing fingers at our stars and they have become a laughing stock of the cricketing world.
With the help of the English lawyers players have evaded being criminally charged in UK. But my fear is that if the ICC has enough evidence (as they say) then all of them will be receiving suspension/bans.

If I am not wrong, none of the players suspended in the past (i.e. Salim Malik, Ajay Jadeja, M. Azharudin, etc) were ever charged criminally, they were all suspended by the ICC.

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