The intolerable stench of betrayal

Published: September 17, 2011
The writer is sports editor of The Express Tribune and tweets @farasG

The writer is sports editor of The Express Tribune and tweets @farasG

For just over 12 months, there loomed an iota of injustice, a passing thought that may deem Mohammad Amir an innocent bystander dragged into the controversy to tarnish his swift ascent to stardom.

There was a chance that maybe the innocence that used to drip off his face, surround his fragile frame and come roaring out with the repeated grins, had grounds to it. The expression, the ebullience, the sweet smell of determination and audacity that belied his age reeked of betrayal last year when the crimes were reported. It became intolerable as the details came to light, the bans came into effect and the court got involved. Now the smell is excruciating.

There were charges, denials, hearings, appeals, bans, rebuttals followed by the trio adamantly pleading innocence, sharing plans to head wherever it takes to clear their name of a crime they, supposedly, had not committed.

Invited as experts during the World Cup, representing the society on Eid and wandering about Hyde Park unperturbed, as if the nation still idolises them — and many do — Amir, Salman Butt and Mohammad Asif oozed tranquillity and an eerie sort of calmness, one that is often witnessed before the storm.

Amir’s confession — confirmed by those who told him not to do such a thing — delivered the blow.

Though the time it took him to take that step — and the conditions offered to him to own up are still at large — is beyond comprehension, it depicts the sorry state of our society and the legal advice he sought. The power of denial in front of fans, family and supporters, betraying the trust of a nation, was at its best display. The admission of guilt shunned shamelessly, and with utmost ease, until the end neared and the repercussions loomed glaringly in the line of vision.

Perhaps the admission came with leniency in mind. Maybe it was forced upon by a conscience that drove him to yearn an honest living in his early days. It could be the result of a change in lawyers. He is believed to have said that he was coerced into over-stepping and did not commit to the stretch out of greed. He has also believed to have, following the bans, acted out of expert advice given to him: to deny the truth.

Amir is a smart cricketer, perhaps too smart for his age. For a teenager who would over-rule his captain even with field placements, watching a career get ruined by the ‘advice’ forced upon him — by Butt or his lawyers — is stupid. Coming off the blocks was a career that threatened records, awards and the deity that is Wasim Akram, the sprint, catapulted by a winner’s medal in his maiden appearance for Pakistan — the 2009 World Twenty20 — faced a premature end, forced out of steam by his ‘well-wishers’.

How this affects the remaining duo will be made clear shortly. The investigations are still ongoing. The verdict, however, has been long delivered.

On the eve of the Pakistan-India duel in the 2009 Champions Trophy, beaming as it was chaand raat in the lobby of a Johannesburg hotel, Amir promised honesty, integrity and plans to get hitched early to avoid controversies. Of course, everyone makes mistakes, even gifted individuals. The key is to be able to start afresh.

Published in The Express Tribune, September 18th, 2011.

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Reader Comments (10)

  • Doctor
    Sep 18, 2011 - 2:01AM

    But will we listen? Our Pakistani society is a society that lets us make excuses for everything. Everything is blamed on someone else. We are never at fault.


  • narayana murthy
    Sep 18, 2011 - 6:33AM

    I still feel that this is nothing compared to the Ball Biting incidence.

    When a certain someone said “I was just trying to Ismell the ball”.

    That has to be the most disgraceful even in the history of cricket.


  • Mirza
    Sep 18, 2011 - 8:55AM

    Amir has finally done the right thing after he has tried everything that was wrong. Even from a legal point of view if he would have confessed, cooperated with the prosecution and showed remorse from the beginning, his punishment would have been less. Considering his tender age first crime and telling the truth would have created a great sympathy for him. However, with the gang of hardened criminals he continued to conspire and refute the truth. Be that as it may, being a fair minded person I would recommend a softer punishment for him. Amir was a national hero, however, with his admission of guilt, he has become one of the few Pakistanis who finally tell the truth.


  • Nasrullah Khan
    Sep 18, 2011 - 10:46AM

    We lie through our teeth but the worst is that we convince ourselves that we are right. The rest of the world sees this and we wonder why they point fingers at us.


  • Aryabhat
    Sep 18, 2011 - 12:32PM

    Interesting bit is other two still denying it!

    Amir at least has now confessed it. Does not make his crime (or the denials after that) less then a betrayal of trust.

    However, other two are still committing that betrayal!

    And before long, some smart suit from FO (remember Pak High Commissioner in London and his team giving statement that all 3 are absolutely innocent? ) will commit another hara-kiri of image of Pakistan.


  • Abu Faiz
    Sep 18, 2011 - 12:40PM

    The excuse that he was forced to do this is a lame one. He has cheated his nation, fans and public. The board should now atleast make sure that such cheats don’t play this sport.


  • BruteForce
    Sep 18, 2011 - 2:32PM

    So nobody wants PCB to ban him or take any action?

    If you remember ICC is the one which has punished them. Amir is yet to be punished by the PCB. I am sure, all will be forgiven, by the Pakistanis. They do it all the time.Recommend

  • White Russian
    Sep 18, 2011 - 3:31PM

    Where are those who saw hindu/zionist/british conspiracy against Pakistani cricket? It appears that it is always us conspiring against ourselves.


  • Arindom
    Sep 19, 2011 - 10:08AM

    Hi confession is a CIA/RAW/Mossad conspiracy!! LOL!! The whole drama is also a conspiracy :-)


  • vickram
    Sep 19, 2011 - 10:09PM


    Did you notice that whatever that is considered disgraceful and unethical in rest of world are actually acceptable and worthy of condoning in Pakistan? Everything in Pakistan can be pardoned citing root causes and extenuating circumstances. I don’t know whether to laugh or cry when my Pakistani friends defend the ball biting episode of Afridi saying, “He did it so that his country can win the game!” Such an unselfish and patriotic act !

    Someone wrote that Pakistan is the only place on earth where, in the movie theaters, the audience actually roots for the villain !

    That is the most telling comment I ever heard in my life !


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