August 29th, 2010
04:10 PM ET

Can cricket survive in Pakistan?

Pakistan's cricket team has been engulfed by accusations that some of their players are involved in a betting scam.
Pakistan's cricket team has been engulfed by accusations that some of their players are involved in a betting scam.

The allegations are damning, and the evidence of match-fixing produced by the British newspaper The News of The World could be devastating for the sport in Pakistan, where cricket is an obsession and a way of life.

That their players – their heroes, their icons – may have been involved in such a monumental scandal will be hard to swallow. That would be true at the best of times, but especially now, with Pakistan grappling with catastrophic flooding and a destabilizing terrorist insurgency.

The ray of hope and inspiration the players could have provided in the overseas Test series against England has been dramatically extinguished. The team was thrashed by their hosts, and have been publicly humiliated.

Many sports can be the victims of match-fixing, especially in the era of spread-betting where pundits can gamble on anything from the winner to the tiniest details of a match. Cricket is especially vulnerable, and it has been tarnished often in the past. Pakistan cricket has been faced with such allegations since the 1990s and already this year, several serious claims - yet to be proved - have been made.

The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) needs all the friends it can muster right now. Last year’s deadly and brazen terror attack on the Sri Lanka team in Lahore means that no-one will travel to play cricket in Pakistan, seriously affecting the PCB’s capacity to generate finances. That attack –- in which eight people died - also cost Pakistan the right to co-host next year’s lucrative World Cup. The sight of both teams leaving the stadium in a military helicopter could have been the death-knell for the sport in Pakistan.

You could hardly have scripted a worse series of events for a national sports team. I haven’t even mentioned the controversial death of their coach Bob Woolmer following their shock elimination from the last World Cup in the Caribbean. For weeks, the Jamaican police conducted a murder investigation, before deciding Woolmer had died from natural causes.

Through all of this, the team has survived. They have some incredibly talented young players and of course a devoted fan-base back home. But how many knocks can they take?

If true, some are hoping that these revelations will prompt a thorough cleansing of the sport in Pakistan. But even then, security remains a serious domestic issue and the integrity of Pakistan cricket may have been irretrievably damaged.

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Filed under:  Cricket
soundoff (39 Responses)
  1. alehandro

    Wow! Talk about being quick to judge! "The ray of hope and inspiration the players could have provided in the overseas Test series against England has been dramatically extinguished."....What happened to innocent until proven guilty?.. Pakistani cricket may have had a checkered past, but to dam the players on the strength of one tabloid "investigation" is irresponsible. But, as usual, the media is quick to pounce on the negative and blow it up before establishing any degree of credibility. Perhaps these allegations will turn out to have some foundation, perhaps not. You can't know any more than I can. But then at least you're ahead of the game I suppose, as if there is a guilty party you can just print the same article all over again.

    August 29, 2010 at 4:53 pm | Reply
  2. xafar khan

    It could be a trick for the destruction of cricket on my Motherland but if its true then they must be punished because they became cause of our humiliation in international society ..........

    August 30, 2010 at 9:57 am | Reply
  3. umair

    it will survive...just like Pakistan always has and always will

    August 30, 2010 at 10:14 am | Reply
  4. Haseeb

    Surprisingly, Mazhar has been released on BAIL:\

    It seems to be a drama to demoralize Pakistani cricket.

    August 30, 2010 at 10:51 am | Reply
  5. Ali

    It is really unfortunate for the Pakistani people to go through this shame because of their cricket team. But even worse is that like all the past allegation things will go undercover and nothing will change.

    if there is something; it should be brought to the public, so that everyone knows how bad our team is. If proven guilty, the whole team should be banned for at least a year from internationla sport.

    August 30, 2010 at 11:10 am | Reply
  6. Alex

    England cannot face the humiliation of losing the 2nd Match against Pakistan so they came up with this to demoralize the team and win the 3rd test Match.
    I want to know two No-balls. How these fix the complete match?

    August 30, 2010 at 11:13 am | Reply
  7. PKboy

    Despite of all bad things, rumours and Political agenda of News network I will say Pakistan Zindabad, Long live Pakistan.

    August 30, 2010 at 11:15 am | Reply
  8. Alex

    England cannot face the humiliation of losing the 2nd Match against Pakistan so they came up with this to demoralize the team and win the 3rd test Match.
    I want to know two No-balls. How this fix the complete match?

    August 30, 2010 at 11:36 am | Reply
  9. WTF

    Cricket is the most boring game and this scandal is the most intriguing episodes to occur to this dying "sports". The ball trajectory animations are more interesting than those sad out-of place cheerleaders. Its all a big joke. This sport is equivalent to golfing in terms of the athleticism required to excel.

    August 30, 2010 at 12:08 pm | Reply
  10. Naeem uddin

    I think it is just a drama staged by Indian and British loby to demoralize our nation because they know that even the weakest of Pakistani team can beat both India and England in cricket.

    August 30, 2010 at 12:17 pm | Reply
  11. xafar khan

    I also agree that it could be a drama to disgrace our victory in third Test At Oval and two successive victories in T20 against "Aus".... And onwards ..........

    August 30, 2010 at 12:35 pm | Reply
  12. Ade

    Having lots of Pakistani friends it is quite sad how they talk about the level of corruption there is in Pakistan from every walk of life. It was only a matter of time before the truth comes out

    August 30, 2010 at 1:13 pm | Reply
  13. chec

    Actually these cricketers are NON state sports people playing for pakistan.

    August 30, 2010 at 1:35 pm | Reply
  14. lalol

    This is nation which has nothing to be proud of thats why its people & sportsmen all dont care for their own countrys prestige. Pakistan will just brush this under the carpet like they have done with their terrorists.

    August 30, 2010 at 1:49 pm | Reply
  15. Geoff

    @Naeem uddin
    You guys never learn from your mistakes...your comment shows how foolish you are....you drag in English and India under this? you are a real moron...Pakistan should be banned from all ICC events for 4-5years..

    August 30, 2010 at 2:02 pm | Reply
  16. Moon

    InshaAllah we will come out of it strongly!

    August 30, 2010 at 2:07 pm | Reply
  17. surya2k

    To WTF, "the most boring game".. ve ever watched a T20 match. It is the most excited format of cricket. And, if u think soccer is most itellectual game with high speed, then u know penauts about soccer.

    At least I will enjoy in 2 and 30 mins T20 game in many ways of 4s and 6s which keep you excitement, where as in soccer whole 90 mins you will wait and at the end it is a goal less draw. what a joke.

    So, if it boring for you then stay away from Cricket. For your little knowledge, here you need medicine.. that cricket is the second most popular game in terms of number of people are following, and Cricket world is the 3rd most watchable event on planet after Olympics and soccer WC. Check out wikipedia to get confirm.

    Now, you leave this place, with taking longest breath. Good luck next time.

    August 30, 2010 at 2:30 pm | Reply
  18. Raja

    As a Pakistani I am ashamed of whatever happened. I want these players should be banned forever and put them in jail for at least 5 years no matter how bigger these players are. That is the only way we can improve. We pray for them to win and they let us down.

    Raja, Karachi Pakistan

    August 30, 2010 at 3:18 pm | Reply
  19. ssr

    shame for you UK..you are swallowing bad people/fans of Pak cricket team with their negative comments...and you country is sending funds to Pakistan for flooding..lol..

    August 30, 2010 at 4:01 pm | Reply
  20. Ana

    Pakistan ! ! Inshaa Allah. In this country whom should be punished, almost everything? There's simply no end for whatz happening in Pakistan.

    August 30, 2010 at 4:38 pm | Reply
  21. JAnders

    Even though corruption in Pakistan is nothing new, it seems like plenty of people would still rather believe conspiracy theories than accept the truth. Whether or not they really threw the match in Sydney is open to debate, because the guy could just have been boasting, but the fact that Amir and Asif bowled the no-balls at the prescribed moment is beyond doubt.

    I'm disappointed more than anything else, because it means we won't be seeing any more from Mohammad Amir. Stupid boy, what did he need to get involved in that for, with all his talent?

    August 30, 2010 at 6:54 pm | Reply
  22. Tim Venables

    I feel more than a ltttle sorry for Broad, Trott and Swann. This sport (for me the most perfect of all) has always been vulnerable to this particular sort of thing. I hope Pakistan comes out of this stronger because of it and the consequences. It has survived similar scandals before, it needs cricket and viceversa.

    August 30, 2010 at 8:22 pm | Reply
  23. maha

    I don't unterstand that why the media is judging itself that that story is true?
    it is the same newspaper that has made wrog allegations against the stars like
    rooney,bekham ,angelina jolie and brad pitt and then what happend the allegation was
    proven to be wrong and the newspaper has to be paid for the false allegations.And no body is pointing
    out the fact that on which date the video has been taken ....before the match or after the match ..just because the
    reporter is saying that it is before the match we believe him ?and the bookie was so fool that he agree to tell everything to
    a stranger in just one meeting ?first minute he is saying i don't trust you and then he is saying okay i will tell you ?what type of bookie he must be ?
    and no body is considering the fact that the bookie is saying that i have links with all these things with india?why media is not pointing out that ?because is dominating ICC?
    India wants Pakistan to be outsided or the whole world collectively wants it ?is it a conspiracy against Pakistan?why no body is pointing out that ...just saying pakistan is guilty ?

    August 30, 2010 at 8:30 pm | Reply
  24. CDP

    Alex,
    England were already up 2 tests to 1. They had won the 1st and 2nd and lost the 3rd. The "fixing" went on during the 4th Test.

    August 30, 2010 at 9:36 pm | Reply
  25. Hanif Chauhan

    OMG, this report is so biased I feel ashamed to even comment on it but I had to. To begin with almost every sport, specially Cricket around the world is wide open to Match Rigging. Teams of Pakistan, India, Australia,South Africa all have been in the news in this connection.
    How it means that Cricket is about to be finished as a sport in Pakistan, I don't understand. And how can Cricket bring a "Ray of Hope" to a country devastated by the huge flood calamity.

    August 30, 2010 at 10:45 pm | Reply
  26. DonOfTheWorld

    The accusations are not proved yet & will not because of the weak strength of evidences.

    August 31, 2010 at 12:05 am | Reply
  27. jaswinder singh

    MR Cricket is most interesting game in this world!and boring only for them who never played this wonderful game of cricket,as concern of match fixing,everybody is innocent till proven guilty,if some players found guilty of match fixing ! they should severely punished ,because they are not bring shame on Pakistan,but also makes angry and sad to those who love this beauty full game of cricket.

    August 31, 2010 at 1:59 am | Reply
  28. Yousaf

    All of you Pakistanis calling this a conspiracy are a part of the problem. Its amazing how Pakistanis always shift the blame to someone else. I guess if you shift blame then you dont have to deal with the problem itself. In their heads then it no longer is an issue. This mentality is behind the corrupt culture in Pakistan. Everything else in that country is corrupt then why not cricket?

    August 31, 2010 at 4:43 am | Reply
  29. Sma

    We don't have anyone in Pakistan, who can fight for these kind of things, this is rumor or true, but should be investigate in Pakistan. No one have rights to do such kind of things with international players, like scanning their rooms, etc.

    August 31, 2010 at 6:36 am | Reply
  30. twinklingstar

    The typical naive mentality is reflected in the following comment.Pakistan is well known in the world as one of the corrupt country in the world at political, bureaucratic and even common man level.What reputation this country enjoys brings heads down in shame.
    I strongly urge the ICC to rid the world cricket of the bad guys, if they want to save the great game of cricket they will have to eat this bitter pill.

    August 31, 2010 at 1:24 pm | Reply
  31. Hussain

    I think its coming right, Pakistan is a failed country producing failed politicians, terrorist and now sports person. What a shame.

    September 1, 2010 at 8:16 am | Reply
  32. waqar khan

    I think Butt had a major role to play.

    September 2, 2010 at 1:04 am | Reply
  33. Asad

    PakistanI are interested in cricket and they have no other recreative sport or activity.They should make sure cricket survives the confusion of the PCB.

    September 2, 2010 at 2:49 am | Reply
  34. Greg

    surya2k, I agree with you for the most part about cricket and T20, but test matches last five days and often end in draws.

    September 2, 2010 at 9:40 pm | Reply
  35. php_web

    @Geoff

    Did ICC ban India or South Africa from any ICC event even after both indian and South African players handed LIFE Time Ban... So why you think ICC ban pakistan this time?

    September 5, 2010 at 5:50 am | Reply
  36. Mat

    @Naeem uddin, gee how India is related to this matter????

    September 5, 2010 at 5:45 pm | Reply
  37. Mahrukh

    I am just sorry for my nation... I hope we come out of it stronger and whatever it is some stupid allegations or reality it helps us make things better!

    September 10, 2010 at 3:39 pm | Reply
  38. british gp tickets

    I can't belive how lightly some people are accepting the fixing scandal. I'm sure the guys had their own reasons and I don't want to judge them, but match fixing ruins sports and that I can't accept!

    September 11, 2010 at 12:17 pm | Reply
  39. Zahid

    The cricket administrators in Pakistan seem determined to eliminate the sport from their counrty. The terrorist attack on Sri Lankan team deprived the cricket crazy nation of all home international cricket but the culprits of this blatant security lapse were left scot free by the current regime. The spot-fixing scandal has done nothing to shake the mighty patron (the President Zardari) and the PCB Chairman (Defence Minister's brother-in-law) : the persons at the realm of affairs. No one has accepted responsibility for failing to provide the promised 'Presidential' security to the visiting Sri Lankan side nor have the concerned police officials been reprimanded. Similarly, the administrators continue to cling to their offices as if nothing has gome wrong. One wonders what next. When will these bosses give up!

    September 14, 2010 at 7:33 am | Reply

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