Excellent article about Match Fixing - Must Read

  • Qayyum, Majid and Rashid must take a bow

    Fareshteh Gati-Aslam writes about why it was necessary to talk about Match Fixing as long as five years ago

    The most commonly asked question asked during the last five years was 'Why do you have to write about Match Fixing?' The other day, one came across a saying attributed to England cricketer and stalwart Lord Harris who wrote a passage in the 19th century that answers the question perfectly.

    "You do well to love cricket, for it is more free from anything sordid, anything dishonorable, than any game in the world. To play it keenly, honorably, self-sacrificingly, is a moral lesson in itself and the classroom is God's air and sunshine. Foster it, my brother, so that it may attract all who can find time to protect it from anything that would sully it, so that it may grow in favor with all men.''

    In practical terms Lord Harris was writing about the same game as practised in the modern day by Mark Waugh and Shane Warne, Saleem Malik and Wasim Akram, Hansie Cronje and Kapil Dev. But in moral terms they played a game the grand old Lord would never have recognised. Their moves were less innocent, more dangerous. Far from 'protecting' the game, they by their dubious, pusillanimous, utterly unscrupulous code of ethics 'sullied' it immeasurably. By introducing 'sordid' and 'dishonourable' elements they failed to appreciate the need to play it 'keenly, honorably, self-sacrificingly'. They threw morality and dignity to the high winds and in doing so destroyed the credibility of not just themselves and their teams but the game itself. 'Tis shameful, indeed and for a watcher who loved the game and made a living writing about it, it would have been equally dishonourable to watch the abhorrent practice and not expose it. The decision to write was as basic as a forward defensive prod.

    It's been a fortnight when revelations have knocked the stuffing out of each and every cowardly official who protected these skivs. Alongwith millions of Pakistanis, one has an intensely personal connection with cricket, its rituals, its idiosyncrasies, its values and its many subtle charms. As a young student the game had enthralled me, drawing me deeper and deeper into its magical web all throughout the seventies and the mid-eighties. When the time came to choose a professional career, a chance visit to Lord's had such an enormous impact that the experience had to be committed to paper. Encouraged by positive responses, the field of journalism beckoned and cricket was the best loved beat.

    Then followed five glorious years when Imran Khan was in charge and we were proud to raise the Pakistan flag. Five incredibly satisfying years which saw the rise of exciting young talent like Waqar Younis, Mushtaq Ahmed, Saeed Anwar, Inzamam ul Haq, Aaqib Javed; there was always Wasim and Javed and Rameez who helped a rookie reporter with quotes and information, insights and observations. These were the years which included campaigns to win series in West Indies and Australia for England and India had already been conquered. Years of searching, striving, protecting and promoting. Fruitful years, satisfying years which culminated with the triumph in Melbourne one balmy March day in 1992. Imran held aloft that Waterford Crystal trophy. World Champions. The laughter just wouldn't stop. You felt like a jackass because the grin became a permanent fixture. We had a team that combined to perfection passion and honour, a team that played to win in the best traditions of this grand game. A team that was joyous and relaxed, eyes shining in shared triumph, wide smiles all round as everyone hugged the other and always the strains of 'Allah hoo' lent solemnity to a defining moment. The best there ever was. And as we enjoyed those giddy, triumphant days little did we know of the horror the rest of the century had in store.

    Even as the wild celebrations continued in Pakistan, as the team winged its way back via Singapore Pakistan cricket's headlong ride to doom and disaster had begun. Soon it would be clear that they were their own worst enemies. Each and every member of that team conspired to throw Imran out. Imran though was ahead of the game and never played with them again of his own volition, but for Miandad and Rameez, Akram and Malik, Waqar and Mushtaq, Moin and Inzamam, Aamir and Saeed infact for every blessed team member, the cracks in the abyss just kept widening in varying degrees, till the chasm opened up wide enough on May 21, 2000, almost eight years later and buried Pakistan cricket under an avalanche of mistrust, betrayal and deception.

    May 21 was the date when The News of the World, announced its success at trapping Saleem Malik into making an admission about his and other players' involvement. May 21 was also the day when the PCB probably made up its mind that, with their backs to the wall, they had little option but to go public with the Qayyum Report, a document which is meticulously drawn up and is a masterpiece for delivering the correct message with more than just words alone.

    Justice Malik Mohammad Qayyum has given Pakistan cricket a chance to move ahead -- after it has resolved all its problems. It is now up to the PCB to seize that moment and do the best for Pakistan.

    A word here for Rashid Latif. His was the resolute voice which alerted us to the dangerous demon that lurked within the team. He took several stands, he wanted to play a clean game but the Pakistan Cricket officials did not let him. He tried to inform them; they did not want to know and in many instances advised him to keep quiet and join 'them' and play the game. How misguided and how weak they were and how utterly unfortunate Pakistan is to have to deal with the consequences of men such as them.

    Latif is a giant amongst these cricketing pygmies. And yet he waited outside their doors, listened to their platitudes, gave up a burgeoning cricketing career and the captaincy and in the process lost real money in his efforts to play a straight game. He has achieved mythical status abroad where newspapers refer to him as a man of integrity and a true champion, but the reality is that the players who lied, cheated and deceived are still in the team, still making money (one way or another) while Rashid is the man outside looking in. The PCB must compensate him. In addition here is a man who deserves the President's Pride of Performance award for his resoluteness, his honour, for his integrity. There are too few like him. The nation owes him a debt. We must cherish him.

    Perhaps if Saleem Malik had understood and appreciated the essence of cricket the way Rashid clearly did, he may not have been tempted to fix cricket matches because they earned him a nice package on the side.

    When Rashid first alerted us to the reality of match fixing in 1995, after Christchurch and Colombo had already taken place, one started to be wary. The first target was Saleem Malik naturally and our former cordial relations started to turn sour. Soon he would start to put the phone down and whenever we met, inadvertently, he would make mocking noises about the futility of the press in Pakistan, who were unable to stop him. All throughout the time when Fakhruddin G Ebrahim was compiling his report, through the world Cups of 1996 and 1999, through important Test series and One-day competitions Malik went his merry way. He was supported by PCB Chairman's and Chief Executives, by captains Wasim Akram, Rameez Raja, Saeed Anwar and Moin Khan. The only known antagonist was Rashid although we can now chuckle about the fact that canny old Imran Khan never had much time for Malik, believing him to fall short of a certain standard in a crisis. At that point the Pakistan team members could have made their choice to pitch their tents in either Rashid's camp or Malik's. Sadly, they chose the latter and as the ranks of the no-gooders swelled so too did the misfortunes of Pakistan cricket.

    The Qayyum Report and the cleansing of the Pakistan team, which is now a possibility, is a triumph for Pakistan. Specifically it is a triumph for Majid Khan, the man who as Chief Executive, initiated the inquiry, and for Sibtain Fazli, the PCB legal counsel who spent hours poring over the report. They were probably the only two officials who saw through the shenanigans of the players and ensured that in one way or another they would not be able to inflict lifelong damage.

    Looking ahead is a painful task. The officials must tread softly. Never again must a suspected player be given the opportunity to lie with facile ease, "We want to win this game" "The boys are determined to play well" "My team is ready" "I have nothing to fear" "I am clean" "Look at my record" "I have the backing of my team". Trite phrases which have knocked the stuffing out of the Pakistan team and words which continue to ring hollow.

    Writing about Match Fixing was a conscious decision, made after Bangalore 1996, after our nation was betrayed. It was clear then that Malik was not the sole guilty party. There were others. Wasim Akram's inclusion into that group was the most painful realisation. Here was an all time hero, the player who won the Nehru Cup, the Austral-Asia Cups in Sharjah, the World Cup 1992, the Man of the Series for England 1992 and countless tense, encounters. Not withstanding his youthfulness, he was a cricketing god. But as time went by, it was clear that involved he certainly was. It showed in countless ways. Akram always backed Malik, Akram always pulled away with inexplicable injuries, it was he who tried to prevent new talent from coming through. Wise old cricketers from overseas started asking, privately, in hushed tones, with pained expressions "Is Akram kosher?" Regrettably they knew what the answer would be. Mike Selvey writing in the Guardian wrote of the pain in the Selvey household when Waz, a family hero, fell from the pedestal. Others rued his fall. And despite a pending court case against this newspaper and writer, if in some way Qayyum could have conveyed to us, without subterfuge and more fattening carpets, that Wasim was above suspicion, the Aslam household and The News offices would have rejoiced.

    Alas! It was not to be. It is a cross Pakistan cricket has to live with. It's most distinguished son, (95 Tests, 2599 runs, 398 wickets; 303 ODI's, 3215 runs, 423 wickets) is also its most tainted.

    But by far the Qayyum Report's biggest most important impact will start to take effect when future generations of Pakistan cricketers look back and decide to pitch their tents in Rashid Latif's camp. For only then will they be in a position to play cricket the way Lord Harris recommended. And perhaps then another Pakistan captain will have the privilege of holding aloft a World Cup.

  • Rashid latif is a hero, he has done enough for Pakistani cricket at personal level...


  • That imbecile Asif might apply for asylum in UK citing threat to his life from bookies..

  • well they way bookies and underworld works i bet Asif should be applying for asylum in Dozakh.... he is a thread to underworld now.


    Rashid Latif is strong supporter of MQM but didnt know that once he was fined for his support ( may be after exposing Salim Malik ..)

    PCB Exposed: Open discrimination with Rashid Latif and Basit Ali on their political affiliation with MQM


  • @expakistani

    Dont make this about MQM please. We all know corruption is present in all parties in Pakistan who have tasted power.

    Rashid Latif is a hero no matter what party he supports.

  • There is also one in Urdu. Jang

    محمد عامر کو سزا کی نہیں، اصلاح کی ضرورت ہے

    پاکستان کرکٹ ٹیم کے حوالے سے حال ہی میں سامنے آنے والے میچ فکسنگ کے نئے اسکینڈل میں سب سے زیادہ نقصان فاسٹ بالر محمد عامر کا ہوتا دکھائی دیتا ہے۔ بہت کم عرصے میں اپنی تیز رفتار اور ریورس سوئنگ بولنگ سے محمد عامر نے دنیائے کرکٹ میں اپنے لیے جو مقام پیدا کیا ہے وہ بہت کم کھلاڑیوں کو نصیب ہوا ہے۔ یہی وجہ ہے کہ پاکستان میں ان کے لیے ہمدردی کے جذبات موجود ہونے کے ساتھ دیگر ممالک کے کھلاڑی بھی انہیں مذکورہ اسکینڈل میں ملوث قرار دیے جانے پر افسردہ دکھائی دیتے ہیں۔برطانیہ کے سابق کپتان مائیک ایتھرٹن نے اپنے ایک مضمون میں لکھا ہے کہ محمد عامر جیسے کھلاڑی کو سزا کی نہیں ،اصلاح کی ضرورت ہے۔ان کا کہنا ہے کہ کرکٹ کا مستقبل ہے اور اسے کسی اسکینڈل میں ملوث قرار دے کر ضائع کر دینا نہ صرف پاکستان بلکہ بہ حیثیت مجموعی کرکٹ کے ساتھ بھی زیادتی ہو گی۔ وہ نچلے لیول سے کرکٹ کھیلتے ہوئے قومی ٹیم میں آئے ہیں۔ زیادہ پڑھے لکھے نہ ہونے کی وجہ سے عالمی سطح پر ہونے والے معاملات اور اچھے برے کی تمیز کرنے میں انہیں فی الوقت دشواری ہو سکتی ہے۔ یہی وجہ ہے کہ اگر ان کی اصلاح کے لیے کوئی بندوبست کیا جائے اور انہیں بتایا جائے کہ ان کے بہتر مستقبل کے لیے کیا ضروری ہے۔ تو یقینی طور پر وہ اپنے آپ کو درست کرنے میں کامیاب ہو جائیں گے اور غلط صحبت میں پڑ کر اپنا پورا کیرئیر داؤ پر لگانے کی غلطی نہیں کریں گے۔ اسی طرح آسٹریلیا سے تعلق رکھنے والے پاکستان کے سابق کوچ جیف لاسن کا کہنا ہے کہ دنیا اس پورے معاملے کو اپنے انداز میں دیکھ رہی ہے۔ جبکہ پاکستان میں سٹہ مافیا اس قدر مضبوط ہے کہ وہ کھلاڑیوں کے اہل خانہ کو اغوا ء اور قتل کی دھمکیاں دے کر اپنے ساتھ ملا لیتے ہیں۔ انہوں نے ایک واقعہ کی مثال دیتے ہوئے کہا ہے کہ جب وہ پاکستان ٹیم کے کوچ تھے تو ایک کھلاڑی کو ٹیم میں شامل کرنے لیے اتنا دباؤ تھا کہ معاملہ صدرمشرف تک لے جانا پڑا جس کے بعد کھلاڑی کی جان بخشی ہوئی۔ اس تناظر میں دیکھا جائے تو پاکستان کے نوجوان کرکٹرز کی سٹے باز مافیا کے ساتھتعلقات کی باتیں کچھ نہ کچھ سمجھ میں آنے لگتی ہیں۔ دوسری بات یہ ہے کہ ہم کسی بھی کھلاڑی کے مجرم ثابت ہونے سے پہلے ہی اس کا میڈیا ٹرائل شروع کر دیتے ہیں۔ جب غیرملکی کھلاڑی اور تبصرہ نگارہمارے کھلاڑیوں کے لیے ہمدردی کے جذبات رکھ سکتے ہیں تو کیا ہم تھوڑا بہت ہی سہی انہیں شک کا فائدہ نہیں دے سکتے ؟