Little sympathy in Pakistan for disgraced cricketers

Mohammad Amir's mother says here son's actions understandable because he was still a child, others not so forgiving.


Reuters November 02, 2011

CHANGA BANGYAAL: Mohammad Amir's mother said on Wednesday her teenage son's actions were understandable because he was still a child.      

"I've had this in my hand for a year and a half," said Naseem Akhtar, mother of 19-year-old Mohammad Amir, pointing to prayer beads in her hand.

"Children make mistakes. Amir became a big name in cricket, but he is still a child."

Other Pakistanis were not as forgiving, saying the fiasco has hurt the country, already tainted by widespread allegations of government corruption, where cricket is a way of life and to many an expression of national identity.

Cricketers Salman Butt and Mohammad Asif were found guilty on Tuesday of taking bribes to fix part of a test match against England in a case that prosecutors said revealed rampant corruption at the heart of international cricket.

Former captain Butt, 27, and opening bowlers Asif, 28, and Amir, who had admitted his part in the scam before the trial started, plotted to bowl deliberate no-balls at pre-arranged times during the Lord's test in August last year.

The men will be sentenced today, with Butt and Asif facing up to seven years in jail or large fines. The three players have already been banned from playing by the International Cricket Council (ICC) for a minimum of five years.

"I hope they are sent to jail as well, so that they become a symbol for the future cricketers. Corruption should not be tolerated anywhere and at any level, and I am very happy that justice has been done," said Adeel Azhar, a Pakistani radio host and cricket fan.

"Let's just hope now that our media does not look for conspiracy theories and start blaming Western or Indian cricket lobbies for all this, and thus making a hero out of these corrupt cricketers."

During the three-week trial in London, the jury heard how an undercover reporter recorded sports agent Mazhar Majeed, 36, boasting he could arrange for Pakistan players to rig games for money and how huge sums could be made for gambling syndicates.

In Amir's home village of Changa Bangyaal, a small collection of modest cement houses surrounded by wheat fields, some hoped he could one day redeem his image and bowl again.

"He has made a mistake. But we all pray he will come back and play for the country," Mohammad Shafeeq, a farmer who was leading a buffalo to his homestead.

Asfandyar Khan, a security guard, showed no mercy.

"These people make so much money and yet want more money through illegal means," he said.

"I am sure that there must be some other players involved too, but at least those who were caught have been punished."

Shahid Afridi  wondered if Pakistan could ever recover from the scandal and said he hoped future generations of players could learn from the dark episode in Pakistani cricket.

"Our country, our cricket, has been disgraced. This is a lesson," he told reporters on Wednesday.

COMMENTS (21)

Dan the paki man | 9 years ago | Reply

Dear All, Why is it that when we get into trouble we all of a sudden become religious zealots, One should not worry about how old this moron was when he committed this crime, don’t… NOT for a single instance excuse him or others, 17 years old Kill people and go to jail for LIFE. This moron for his LUST of money (did not care how good he was, or he had a career) Killed the HONOR of Pakistan, This is Bigger than Cricket…It’s about PAKISTAN. All of these Felons should be tried for treason if they enter Pakistan and put in Jail for a very long time, quit being so FORGIVING...have the GUTS to conduct JUSTICE…once a criminal ALWAYS a criminal.

Sajjad Hussain | 9 years ago | Reply

They have been bowled out from international and national cricket.PCB must take their share of the blame,

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