Leading article: Spinning out of control

Share

The great ball-tampering scandal that erupted over the weekend in the final Test match of the summer between England and Pakistan has been a disaster for the image of Test cricket. For the first time in the 129-year history of the game, a match was forfeited. And there are still no signs of consensus about who is in the right. The cricket world is tearing itself apart over the affair.

But there is also a wider context to all this that goes beyond cricket. The row comes at a very sensitive time in international relations. Muslims, particularly those of Pakistani heritage, are regarded with an unprecedented degree of suspicion in Britain.

We hear stories of Muslims being marched off planes to appease the paranoia of other passengers. Asians with rucksacks are still given a wide berth on public transport. There is talk, too, of airport security targeting Asians to speed up the progress of others through to departure lounges. The allegation that the Pakistani team were guilty of a conspiracy to commit wrongdoing has unfortunate echoes of attitudes to Muslims in everyday life.

A similar atmosphere of distrust exists in Pakistan and those parts of the UK with large Muslim populations. In such places Westerners are often regarded as oppressors. The idea of the Pakistan national team being framed by biased, possibly even racist, umpiring fits well with the propaganda that is prevalent in the Muslim world.

The great danger is that this affair could be elevated into a symbolic issue of contention between Islam and the West; another front in the so-called "clash of civilisations". Some parties seem either unaware of, or unconcerned about, this danger. The Pakistani cricket board chairman Shaharyar Khan has suggested that relations between Muslims and Christians could be damaged by the treatment of the Pakistani team. And the intervention of Pakistan's President in support of the stance of his national team has given this affair an unwelcome political dimension. We can only hope that no British minister decides to get involved.

The focus must return to the basic issues of the case. There should be a full investigation by the International Cricket Council, not solely of the Pakistani team but also the conduct of the umpires. If found guilty, Pakistan must accept the consequences with good grace. If they are cleared, the test match should be declared void and England's "victory" erased from the record. Meanwhile, all involved should avoid inflammatory language. The world has quite enough problems to deal with, without adding the rancour of sporting controversy to the mix.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Tradewind Recruitment: PMLD Teacher

Negotiable: Tradewind Recruitment: PMLD Teacher A specialist primary school i...

Recruitment Genius: Online Media Sales Trainee

£15000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Now our rapidly expanding and A...

Recruitment Genius: Public House Manager / Management Couples

£15000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you passionate about great ...

Recruitment Genius: Production Planner

£20000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This fast growing reinforcing s...

Day In a Page

 

Political satire is funny, but it also causes cynicism and apathy

Yasmin Alibhai Brown
The super-rich now live in their own Elysium - they breathe better air, and eat better food, when they're not making beans on toast for their kids

The super-rich now live in their own Elysium

They breathe better air, eat better food, take better medicine
A generation of dropouts failed by colleges

Dropout generation failed by colleges

£800m a year wasted on students who quit courses before they graduate
Entering civilian life 'can be like going into the jungle' for returning soldiers

Homeless Veterans appeal

Entering civilian life can be like going into the jungle
Sam Taylor-Johnson: Woman on top

Sam Taylor-Johnson: Woman on top

Fifty Shades of Grey director on bringing the hit to the screen
Shazam! Story of the $1bn 'what's that song?' app

Shazam: Story of the $1bn 'what's that song?' app

As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

Mussolini tried to warn his ally of the danger of bringing the country to its knees. So should we, says Patrick Cockburn
Britain's widening poverty gap should be causing outrage at the start of the election campaign

The short stroll that should be our walk of shame

Courting the global elite has failed to benefit Britain, as the vast disparity in wealth on display in the capital shows
Homeless Veterans appeal: The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty

Homeless Veterans appeal

The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty
Prince Charles the saviour of the nation? A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king

Prince Charles the saviour of the nation?

A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king
How books can defeat Isis: Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad

How books can defeat Isis

Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad
Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

She may be in charge of minimising our risks of injury, but the chair of the Health and Safety Executive still wants children to be able to hurt themselves
The open loathing between Barack Obama and Benjamin Netanyahu just got worse

The open loathing between Obama and Netanyahu just got worse

The Israeli PM's relationship with the Obama has always been chilly, but going over the President's head on Iran will do him no favours, says Rupert Cornwell
French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

Fury at British best restaurants survey sees French magazine produce a rival list
Star choreographer Matthew Bourne gives young carers a chance to perform at Sadler's Wells

Young carers to make dance debut

What happened when superstar choreographer Matthew Bourne encouraged 27 teenage carers to think about themselves for once?
Design Council's 70th anniversary: Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch

Design Council's 70th anniversary

Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch