By Irum Saleem
Disgraced and Discarded former Test captain and Lahore Qalandar’s Salman Butt shamelessly talks about “integrity” in cricket and writer Ibrahim Farooqi in Dawn rightly shows him mirror to him and his protectors.
The shameless News channels who invite this notorious spot fixer to their prgrammes and Lahore Qalandar that is known for its dubious defeats has also come under spotlight for picking this spot fixer perhaps it needs some tips in this regard.
Shameless character Salman Butt says: “Integrity is not something which should be talked about in Pakistan cricket.”
Butt was involved in the notorious 2010 spot-fixing scandal. “I know the players who have been added to the team because of their connections and there have been several players who have made numerous comebacks without giving any meaningful performances. Are these things different from corruption?” notorious Butt said.
Farooqi writes the southpaw, as cited in the said reports, was responding to the statements reportedly made by Mohammad Hafeez that there was no need to have those players back in national team who have deliberately let Pakistan down, even if they had served punishments for their sins.
Salman, the main character of the 2010 fixing saga, should first and foremost ask himself: Do I even have the right to comment on integrity — let alone talking about Pakistan cricket’s integrity — which I deceitfully spoiled while leading my country at the highest international level?
Integrity comes with arduous sacrifices, and it is the most cherished asset one gradually builds upon with unwavering faith in the Almighty while ignoring the worldly gains that one can seek through deceitful means. And this universal truth remains the same for all times. Unfortunately, Salman does not belong to this category and knows it well.
How could Salman overlook the fact Pakistan cricket is not just about Salim Malik, Salman Butt, Mohammad Asif, Mohammad Amir, Khalid Latif or Nasir Jamshed who are all convicted fixers? Every patriotic and diehard Pakistani fan feels proud that there is a very long list of outstanding cricketers who served Pakistan cricket with pride and integrity over the years and are still serving.
From Fazal Mahmood, Abdul Hafeez Kardar, Hanif Mohammad, Khan Mohammad, Waqar Hasan, Wallis Mathias, Imtiaz Ahmed to Mushtaq Mohammad, Majid Khan, Zaheer Abbas, Imran Khan, Sarfraz Nawaz, Wasim Raja, Wasim Bari to Mudassar Nazar, Javed Miandad, Iqbal Qasim, Mohsin Khan, Abdul Qadir, Ramiz Raja to Saleem Yousuf, Shoaib Mohammad, Waqar Younis, Aaqib Javed, Saeed Anwar, Aamir Sohail, Rashid Latif to Shahid Afridi, Shoaib Akhtar, Mohammad Yousuf, Abdul Razzaq, Younis Khan, Misbah-ul-Haq, Umar Gul, Mohammad Hafeez, Saeed Ajmal, hundreds and hundreds of cricketers have worn the green cap with pride and have held Pakistan’s flag aloft by giving their hundred percent to the team.
No doubt, the above-mentioned players — like all the other sportspersons — were not perfect in their profession and faced a number of ups and downs on the field throughout their careers but their uprightness in the game was never in question.
Thank God, the incumbent professionals including Test skipper Azhar Ali, ODI and T20 captain Babar Azam, Asad Shafiq, Sarfraz Ahmed, Imam-ul-Haq, Shan Masood, Haris Sohail, Mohammad Abbas, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Shadab Khan, Hasan Ali, Naseem Shah, Yasir Shah, Abid Ali, Mohammad Rizwan and many others have so far kept themselves away from the menace of corruption which can destroy the most reputable of human beings, Hansie Cronje being a prime example of that.
Commenting on some players’ views on whether the convicted players after completing their sentence should be brought back into Pakistan’s national team, Salman reportedly said, “I really don’t understand why should anyone even speak on this issue and give his opinion because it doesn’t really matter. Bottom line is that only the ICC and PCB should be speaking on this as they make the laws.”
Thank you Mr Salman for this explanation. However, there is a candid reminder for the opening batsman that it was no one but you, leading the Pakistan team at Lord’s ten years ago, who blatantly violated the anti-corruption laws and codes of the ICC and PCB anti-corruption. And just how the integrity was hugely compromised and patriotism was made a mockery of was for everyone to see.
As regards Salman’s remark of some players getting back into the national team “because of their connections”, one may safely contend that Salman’s position is different from that of Amir who returned to the national team after completing his five-year spot-fixing ban. While Asif was never recalled to the national team, Amir made a comeback due to his wise decision to become an approver in the nasty 2010 spot-fixing saga. In stark contrast, both Salman and Asif kept on denying their misdeeds and continued to plead not guilty.
Besides, unlike Amir, Salman was leading the team at Lord’s in 2010 when spot-fixing raised its ugly head. The opener had been representing Pakistan since 2003 whereas Amir had come onto the international stage in 2009. The young left-arm pacer, unlike Asif, held no track record of any major act of indiscipline prior to Lord’s scam.
While it takes ages for one to earn respect and build on integrity, just one moment of insanity can ruin it all. And Mr Salman Butt, you had that moment ten years ago. So don’t talk about the integrity of Pakistan cricket. Your own act of dishonesty in 2010 disqualified you once and for all.
lthough Mr Farooqi has given the names of several players who were known for their integrity and those who sold the country’s honour. He did not include the name of Wasim Akram in the list of the players known for match and spot fixing. One wonders why he did not do so? Pak Destiny