Leading article: A blow to the spirit of the game

Share
Related Topics

The politics of cricket in Pakistan have always been a mystery to outsiders. Captains and players come and go for no discernible reason, their changes in status the apparent consequence of unseen forces. This is a milieu in which sporting prowess helps but is not the sole criterion for success, and in which powerful businesses have a stake in reaching certain outcomes.

The latest revelations of alleged betting scams in the Test match against England, therefore, are disappointing but not entirely shocking. Nor does it serve much purpose to wring our hands about the sad fate of an honourable game and express pious hopes that players will behave in a more ethical fashion in future. Clearly, factors are at work other than players' individual consciences or their greed to obtain extra cash.

The wider context is of often extremely poor young men who find themselves pitchforked into an elite society distinguished by immense wealth and celebrity and which follows a very different value system from the one with which they were familiar.

This is more than the age-old tale of youth corrupted and disorientated by bright lights and luxury. The society in which these players move is heavily penetrated by business interests that routinely engage in match-fixing because the fate of huge sums can depend on it. Whatever the circumstances of this case turn out to be, in the past it has often been a matter of: "Take the money – or else."

None of this means that we should acquiesce in corruption in cricket or any other sport. Indeed, this whole saga is very sad. It is damaging to the reputation of cricket, and is another blow to Pakistan, a country that is still partly under water and desperately in need of good news. Misgoverned for decades, it has a political class that contains few people whom anyone seriously looks up to for moral inspiration – hence, in part, the almost fanatical devotion to a sport that supposedly incarnates the ideal of fair play.

The people of Pakistan deserve better than to have it rubbed in their faces that this is not the case. Nor can the international cricketing authorities afford to shrug their shoulders and just accept that teams from poor countries don't follow the same ethical code as the rest. But they must accept the limits of what can be done to tackle a phenomenon that is deeply rooted and reflects a wider malaise in the country. Getting rid of a few bad apples will help but won't solve this problem. Vigilance tempered by realism would seem the only course.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Online Sales and Customer Services Associate

£14000 - £16000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Full time and Part time positio...

Ashdown Group: IT Manager - Salesforce / Reports / CRM - North London - NfP

£45000 per annum: Ashdown Group: An established and reputable Not for Profit o...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Ledger & Credit Control Assistant

£14000 - £17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Sales Ledger & Credit Control...

Recruitment Genius: Project Administrator

£16000 - £19000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Project Administrator is requ...

Day In a Page

Read Next
MP David Lammy would become the capital’s first black mayor if he won the 2016 Mayoral election  

Crime, punishment and morals: we’re entering a maze with no clear exit

Simon Kelner
 

The two most important parts of Obama’s legacy could be on the brink of collapse, and this time there's no back-up plan

David Usborne
Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot
Poldark star Heida Reed: 'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'

Poldark star Heida Reed

'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'
The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

You won't believe your eyes

Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn