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: Junior Web Designer - Client Liaison

£6 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity to join a gro...

Recruitment Genius: Service Delivery Manager

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Service Delivery Manager is required to join...

Recruitment Genius: Massage Therapist / Sports Therapist

£12000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A opportunity has arisen for a ...

Ashdown Group: Practice Accountant - Bournemouth - £38,000

£32000 - £38000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A successful accountancy practice in...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

Riyadh is setting itself up as region’s policeman

Lina Khatib
Ed Miliband and David Cameron  

Cameron and Miliband should have faith in their bolder policies

Ian Birrell
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor
How to make your own Easter egg: Willie Harcourt-Cooze shares his chocolate recipes

How to make your own Easter egg

Willie Harcourt-Cooze talks about his love affair with 'cacao' - and creates an Easter egg especially for The Independent on Sunday
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef declares barbecue season open with his twist on a tradtional Easter Sunday lamb lunch

Bill Granger's twist on Easter Sunday lunch

Next weekend, our chef plans to return to his Aussie roots by firing up the barbecue
Joe Marler: 'It's the way I think the game should be played'

Joe Marler: 'It's the way I think the game should be played'

The England prop relives the highs and lows of last Saturday's remarkable afternoon of Six Nations rugby
Cricket World Cup 2015: Has the success of the tournament spelt the end for Test matches?

Cricket World Cup 2015

Has the success of the tournament spelt the end for Test matches?
The Last Word: Justin Gatlin knows the price of everything, the value of nothing

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Justin Gatlin knows the price of everything, the value of nothing