It looks likely that many Pakistani players will have trouble getting a game for a while, possibly forever. This is a shame – Pakistan has produced some amazing cricketers and some amazing cricket. Mohammad Amir is 18 and probably the best bowler in the world. If his career had run its course he would probably have been an all-time great. Instead he’s probably going to get drummed out of all forms of the game. The Indians in the ICC are no doubt salivating at the prospect.
And for what? It’s not because they ‘cheated’. Ball tampering is cheating, using unauthorised equipment is cheating, being Muralitharan is cheating; but playing badly isn’t. The only people cheated are the Australian team, who deserved to be beaten in Sydney, and the English team, who deserved to be beaten more soundly at Lord’s.
It’s not because they cheated the gamblers or the bookies either. Nobody on the Pakistani team entered a contract with these people. They decided to give and take odds on certain events taking place. This does not entitle them to anything.
But what about the fans? Weren’t they cheating us when they conspired to rig games? No. Sitting on your bottom in front of a television set, while enjoyable, does not automatically confer rights over the actions of the people depicted on the television. To think that it does is the behaviour of an entitled dickhead.
No doubt the pious moralising and entitled whining will continue apace. The ICC will hand down a judgement with some grave sounding words. They will talk about bringing the game into disrepute, about shame. They will have their justice. And just like that, the vibrant fire of Pakistani cricket will be snuffed out. And that will be our shame, not theirs.