The banned trio and the unjust punishment
Warne and Waugh escaped with meagre fines for their offences but our players got career-ending bans. Where is justice?
The troubled trio involved in the spot-fixing case has finally received a verdict that has ruined their cricketing careers - a severe but expected decision.
Cricket fans had earlier speculated that Mohammad Amir would be cleared to play with a penalty or short ban but the five year ban has put a big question mark on his career and in the minds of cricket fans.
The bans imposed on 26-year-old Salman Butt and 28-year-old Mohammed Asif have as good as finished their careers; 10 and 7 year bans mean that at this age, they have a rare chance of making a comeback to cricket.
The important point to be discussed is whether the decision is fair. Enthusiasts and patriots may have welcomed the decision, some may have disliked it, but irrespective of reactions, is this decision justified?
Waugh, Warne and leniency
This scandal should be compared with the Mark Waugh, Shane Warne and “John the book maker” scandal which took place in 1994, as quoted in the ICC anti corruption report (1).
During the Singer Cup in Sri Lanka, Waugh and Warne accepted bribes of $4,000 and $5,000 respectively from an Indian book maker. In this infamous scandal, both players provided weather and pitch details to John in exchange for money. Warne also later admitted that he provided this information on 10 occasions over a 5 month period.
After the inquiry, both players accepted the allegations leveled against them in a handwritten statement, but what resulted was that both were fined up to AUS$ 10,000, which is obviously much less than the amount they received as payment. This matter remained under covers till 1998 in “the best interest of cricket” and their cricket board supported them.
Same offence, differing punishments
In the current case, the trio is charged with bowling no-balls and playing a maiden over, while Waugh and Warne gave secret information about the match. The point to consider is that both did it in exchange for money. The similarity is that in both cases, the players’ acts had no impact on the result of the match.
There is no doubt that the Australian players were not involved in “on field” spot fixing, but it is clearly a spot-fixing case because they accepted bribes and delivered exactly what they were asked for. The Australian cricket board cleverly covered up the matter by imposing slight penalties when the scandal was made public. They were the “Amir and Asif” of their country, and now they are legends.
Is it fair?
Coming to the notions of equality and justice, many things can be said to question the harshness of these sentences; like the media was not as strong then as it is now, the ICC was not this strict or active etc.
Regarding the ICC, it is unfair that Pakistan is bearing the brunt of their policies that have consistently changed over the past 17 years.