September 21, 2010

Anti-Corruption Unit of ICC needs to keep an eye on England players too


By Syed Khalid Mahmood

The International Cricket Council (ICC) has announced to have launched an investigation into activities that took place during the third One-Day International between England and Pakistan at The Oval, London, on September 17.

Following the information received by the ICC from a British newspaper and its source, the ICC did act as it believed that a full investigation was warranted.

“A source informed The Sun newspaper that a certain scoring pattern would emerge during certain stages of the match and, broadly speaking, that information appeared to be correct,” ICC Chief Executive, Haroon Lorgat, remarked in his statement.

“We therefore feel it is incumbent upon us to launch a full enquiry into this particular game although it is worth pointing out at this stage that we are not stating as fact that anything untoward has occurred. Only in the fullness of the investigation can that be established,” he stated.

“We thank The Sun newspaper for its information and cooperation in this regard and we will work with its staff and sources to ensure the full truth surrounding this match is ascertained,” the ICC chief acknowledged.

“The ICC maintains a zero-tolerance approach to corruption in cricket and, as a matter of course, follows up on all credible information that is received, whatever the source. Any player or official found guilty of an offence will face the full rigour of our robust Anti-Corruption Code so that we can ensure the integrity of the sport is maintained,” he added.

The statement issued by Haroon Logart very clearly suggested that the ICC was alive to the situation and the media reports concerning the sensitive issue were being followed closely.

But I wonder if the Anti-Corruption Unit of ICC is performing its duties to the satisfaction of large number of the cricket enthusiasts spread over the various continents of the world.

It has become increasingly important for the ACU to adopt a proactive approach in order to prevent further damage to what was one understood to be the gentleman’s game. They have to play a significant role in restoring the confidence of the people who have been felt cheated and heart-broken by the numerous off the field events during the past few months in particular.

The ACU of the ICC should be credited for their damage-control measures when the situation was even worse than what is today in the late 1990s and early 2000s with the stories of match-fixing doing the rounds every other day.

Pakistan’s cricketers are currently under the scanner for the obvious reasons but the ACU officials should not lose sight of the fact that the lust for quick bucks can lure players of the other countries too.

England’s cricketers are thorough-bred professionals but they are human beings too. It’s important for the ACU to keep an eye on their activities too because the rewards for under-performing are believed to be phenomenal to say the least.

Fingers are being pointed towards the England players for having fared terribly to lose the third and fourth One-day Internationals after having won the first two. Many people suspect wrongdoings as to how a depleted, demoralized and broken Pakistan team has been allowed to square the series in the unlikeliest of circumstances.

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Ijaz Butt fails miserably to handle pressure yet again


By Syed Khalid Mahmood

As I have written quite a few times earlier as well, the President of Pakistan, Asif Ali Zardari, under fire for his various controversial political appointments, has done the greatest disservice to the cause of the country by having ignored the follies of Ijaz Butt whom he had installed as the Chairman of the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) a little under two years ago.

Chaudhary Ahmed Mukhtar, the Federal Minister of Defence and one of the most prominent leaders of the ruling Pakistan Peoples Party, had played the pivotal role in getting appointed his brother-in-law, Ijaz Butt, to this key post in October 2008.

Ijaz Butt has continued coming under stinging criticism from the various quarters for having considered himself above the law. Not only has he been guilty of putting aside merit in every matters but he has been ruthlessly playing around with the emotions of the people and more significantly getting away with it.

He is not afraid to say declare publicly that no force on earth could send him home except the appointing authority seemingly right behind him. It’s amazing how he has been allowed to operate in this manner and why he hasn’t been held accountable for having brought the country to disrepute to so many occasions.

With this kind of background it was not surprising at all to find him entangled with an anchor during a live interview with Geo News the other day.

Being straightforward is another matter but to take on the interviewer for no rhyme or reason is indeed an offence by someone holding a public office. There are many other ways of tackling provocative or probing questions but you are never expected to shout or behave indecently with millions watching you.

Ijaz Butt doesn’t take even a minute to lose his temper and talk nonsense even while giving interviews to the media. He remains under the illusion that his relationship with the Defence Minister has provided him the licence to kill and with his protection he was simply above board.

That must have been the reason at the back of his mind why he reacted so sharply when questioned if he was considering to quit following the recent events in England. Instead of giving a polite answer or even saying that he had no such plans he blasted the questioner saying she had no right to charge sheet him.

The worthy PCB Chairman went a step further by saying that he was going to charge sheet her. Thankfully Ijaz Butt wasn’t the head of the media organization the questioner was working for.

It was a clear enough indication how quickly the Pakistan cricket chief gets provoked and how shallow is his thinking. It reflected his poor communication skills as well. Any other person holding his position would have reacted differently and nobody would have thought of creating ugly scenes like this for the viewers.

Ijaz Butt, throughout his two-year term, has never had any kind of working relationship with media because of his attitude and temperament.

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