Saturday 28th August 2010 was a shameful day for a cricket starved nation when well publicised allegations from strong conclusive footage against 3 emerging players who had been impressive throughout the English summer was revealed. The bowlers were ordered to deliberately sell out the pride, dignity, image and reputation of their beloved nation in return for vast sums of money with the 26 year old captain being at the forefront of proceedings. It was one of the most disgraceful sporting incidents one could witness. Many people were understandably calling for Pakistan to be removed from playing international cricket and the credibility of the national team was rightfully hanging in dark clouds. Controversies of shocking magnitude have always existed and been associated with the side, but this was like the final nail in the coffin.
Approximately 7 months later........
19th March 2011 in Colombo and 23rd March 2011 in Dhaka was a sensational day as the boys in green reached the climax stages of the 10th ICC World Cup under the inspirational and charismatic leadership of Boom Boom Afridi. They have completely stole the headlines and been the stand out team. The manner in which Waqar, Afridi and Misbah have overcome some of the toughest times imaginable with people regularly raising eyebrows and questioning the team wherever they have gone deserves a tremendous amount of praise and credit in itself. The way they have fought, battled, coped and bounced back has been second to none.
Additionally, this also epitomises the vastness of the depth of talent Pakistan possesses that it never has to rely on particular players at the expense of them tainting and abusing the slightest of privileges.
The past has been utterly sickening and I am pleased the ICC took the necessary action in getting their priorities they take for granted in the right place first and foremost. Pakistan Cricket Team have demonstrated character and barely suffered. Arguably as expected considering the pool of back up and thriving youthful exuberance which is produced time and time again, but in doing so they also have slowly and gradually regained a sense of respect, awareness and direction. They can take plenty of pride and heart out of this.
Lifting a World Cup Trophy could be around the corner once more in an era which has seen lusty bans due to spot fixing, infighting, oath taking to revolt against a national skipper, mysterious disappearances, indefinite bans, no international cricket played on home territory, incompetent chairmanship, drug scandals, ball biting and endless indiscipline. If there ever was a global award winning drama...Pakistan Cricket Team would be a clear winner...a complete circus!