On day two when I was at Lord's, Mohammad Amir bowled what can only be described as a deliberate no-ball. Even my dad noticed it from the Tavern Stand, where we were sitting, and immediately thought something was wrong here. My initial thought was that Amir had bowled it deliberately so that he could gain an extra yard of pace when bowling a bouncer to the batsman. Turns out it's a bit more sinister that than, with the News of the World collecting a huge amount of evidence to suggest that the Pakistan team were indulging in a bit of "spot-fixing" where they would be paid by a certain person to ensure the outcome of a certain delivery, in this case it being a no-ball. Journalists can be cheeky little buggers at times, but this time their sneakiness has exposed an underground world of illegal match fixing that could have happened in other fixtures too. Journalists posed as illegal gamblers and paid the crook Mazhar Majeed £150,000 for the details of the precise moment when the no-balls would be bowled. There were three of them. Botham claimed "it looked like net bowling". Salman Butt, Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Amir are still being questioned by police and face lifetime bans or possibly even imprisonment.
|Disgraced: Butt, Asif and Amir face serious implications if found guilty|
It begs the question, why would a young lad of 18 with all the talent in the world and the potential to become a great bowler, put his career in jeapardy for some money? Some people may call him naive but that's rubbish, if you're as talented as that, you don't risk screwing up your career for anything, even if you are an idiot. Another question. Whenever the game of cricket is brought into disrepute, why is it more often than not Pakistan who are involved? Apart from the Hanse Cronje incident with South Africa, fact is fact, Pakistan indulge in cheating far too much.
The players found guilty should be banned for life in all forms of cricket to act as a precedent. The whole team should not be banned, in my opinion, as there will be honest cricketers around who would appreciate the chance to represent their country.
Another question that needs asking is, if these players are found guilty (which seems likely they will; watch the undercover video on the News of the World website), will this Test at Lord's be deemed void? And if that happens, will Jonathan Trott and Stuart Broad's hundreds be scratched from the honours board at Lord's? If I were Broad (and indeed Trott), I would be gutted if that were the case.
Ah well... Hopefully, this will all sort itself out, the players found guilty will get what they deserve and we can all turn our attention to a nice Ashes series against our Australian chums. Sounds like much more fun.