Shame

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.

44 thoughts on “Shame

  1. Nice try Obama but you shouldn’t use a post about cricket to justify unlawfully stealing from fat cat CEOs. Cricket is more important than that. Shame on you.

  2. I didn’t even get the chance to ask if you had the same anti-market attitude to paying customers in the stands who shouldn’t feel “entitled” to criticise the product they buy as you do to the advertisers who will “moralise” and “whine” about the fact that the cricket they’re paying for is just not cricket. Is libertarianism really so anti-big-business? There should be a federal election again soon if you’d really like an opportunity to tell people what they should and shouldn’t value.

    Murali for PM

  3. Paying customers are entitled to whatever they can bargain out of the stadium owners. The advertisers can also do what they like, but if they whine like dickheads some in a free society may choose to call them on it.

    You see what I’m really advocating here is a revolution against the ICC. I think people really would like to see the best players available. If Pakistani players can throw games and still get selected and win I think their presence improves the game.

    Criticising the behaviour of a body like the ICC doesn’t impinge on its freedoms. Freedom doesn’t mean freedom from criticism. Suggestions are not compulsions.

  4. Substitute “CEOs whose money is stolen by Obama” for “advertisers” and you’ve made a good point.

    I too advocate a revolution- against pesky contract law. I think people would like to see the best businesses doing business. If these businesses can publicly break contracts and still do business then I think their presence improves society.

  5. Maybe so Terje, but that doesn’t make their decisions correct. Banning Pakistan would be a nasty piece of collective punishment on many honest Pakistani players and innocent cricket fans.

    It’s not about whether the ICC is entitled to do anything; it’s about the incident being been overblown and over-moralised. I think it has been.

    There’s also the issue of the police involvement in England and India. What does this have to do with them?

  6. I assume that there are a set of rules that national cricket teams, and in turn their players, sign up to. If so and if one of them is words to the effect of no taking a dive then I’d say the Pakistan team haven’t got a leg to stand on. If that rule (and I don’t know enough about cricket to say if it probably is there) is a problem for anyone they shouldn’t be playing in the first place. You find this all over sport – if you want to bet on AFL games then don’t be a player or an official, if you want your racing team to be able to use team orders openly then choose a series that allows it rather than do it in F1 where it’s not permitted, if you want to wear a blue tee shirt to play tennis don’t do it at Wimbledon, etc etc. It’s just contract stuff surely. Even terms of employment in the case of individuals. I agree it’s not a matter for the police but if a player or team sign up to a set of conditions and then break one that risks getting them suspended from competition, tough.

    Of course, if the ICC haven’t got anything like that over Pakistan then anything they do would seem awfully like summary justice.

  7. The blogger is anti-gambling too. All these punters want to do is engage in some harmless spot-betting without having their stakes stolen and if they need the police to sustain a functioning betting market you squeal. I suppose you’ll say the spot-fixer-thieves have had their human rights infringed, you probably keep the same bleeding heart for “oppressed” tenants when police throw them out of their squats after failing to pay rent to lending banks. Gambling’s a victimless “crime” you know, Wilkie just won a seat on an anti-pokies platform, maybe by the end of the week you’ll get a chance to contest Denison yourself.

    Geesh.

  8. Angry: I’m sure the ICC has sweeping powers to do whatever they feel like. I just think it will be bad for cricket. At the very least it will be bad for my enjoyment of cricet.

  9. I wouldn’t be complaining if Australian bookies had been ripped off. But they’re Indian, for god sakes!

  10. If games are rigged, or thrown, then paying customers are defrauded of a clean contest, which is what they would hope for. Maybe wrestling fans like staged bouts, but most people hope that sports are genuine contests.

  11. That’s a pretty broad interpretation of fraud. I’m almost 100% certain it has no legal basis.

  12. Yep, probably will be. I suppose how you feel about that depends on whether knowing they threw matches has already tainted your enjoyment. Still, sport is a business and cricket must compete for money – ours, the TV companies, etc – and if one of the parties involved in that breaches their contract in such a way that it may put people off the sport for a while that income stream is likely to be affected. That’s why when Ferrari used team orders to decide the race result recently they were fined US$100,000 before the engines had even cooled down (and may yet be kicked out of the championship for it). That’s why Melbourne Storm were fined $1.7m, stripped of their two premierships and kicked out of this years comp. I felt the Storm’s punishment was particularly harsh and probably OTT, and if the FIA do something similar to Ferrari I’ll say the same. But the fact remains that neither was forced to enter and accept the conditions of their respective competitions, and if rules about team orders or salary caps was a problem they shouldn’t have entered at all. To enter, say ‘screw the rules’ and then look all shocked when hammered for breaking them is probably the least sensible option. It’s no different from a McDonalds franchisee being threatened with the loss of his franchise for serving up Whoppers instead of Big Macs. I agree that ICC heavy handedness will be bad for cricket but it was Pakistan players who started that ball rolling.

  13. “started that ball rolling” – ha!

    I agree. It’s not the ICC that annoys me the most here, it’s randoms talking like the Pakistani team owes them something. The ICC would be within their rights to fine players for not praising Ganesh after each ball, but it wouldn’t necessarily be ‘shameful’ or ‘cheating’ if they didn’t.

  14. Are you sure that’s what annoys you? You sure it’s not just that you think anyone acting for their own financial gain should be adored and not condemned? Even when they’re breaking the (cricketing) law? Does it create bothersome tension between 2 competing dogmas? Hmmm, following incentive as a rational agent vs. upholding rule of law, eenie meenie minie mo…

    I mean I wouldn’t want to impugn your motives…

  15. There’s no tension. I don’t have trouble choosing between bad normal laws and the freedoms they trample. Same with cricket.

    Thanks for playing though!

  16. Ok I suppose I could make some actual comment before some entitled dickhead whines moralistically about my being a Negative Nelly.

    This is the analogy I was trying to make about the rule of law- you libertarians value the upholding of law in society as a pragmatic means to an end, these restrictions on freedoms lead to greater and more valuable freedoms for all eg. the freedom to make contracts of any sort which benefit both parties but which would not if there was no law to enforce those contracts. Similarly the laws of cricket are necessary for cricket to have the highest value to all involved, players and spectators. Individuals value sport for the passion and feeling it brings which itself is derived from the fact that the individuals playing strive to win to the best of their ability within the laws of the game. The utility of sport is atavistic but anyone who tells us as players or fans what we should or should not consider important when its rules are broken can go fuck themselves. If international cricket players all often broke its rules in small or large ways the game would be as interesting to watch as my last backyard cricket effort in which incidentally I top scored. Following the laws of cricket leads to its having the highest value to all involved just as following the laws of society leads to the highest utility for all involved. Sure, lots of wankers will carry on moralistically about the spirit of cricket having been offended but that has nothing to do with the real issue; lots of wankers call themselves libertarians too.

    This consideration isn’t relevant if you’re simply not interested in cricket. The blog’s author probably enjoys nancy pants tennis more than hard leather being flung at 160kph at batsmen’s heads. He probably found Australia’s domination of the 90s “boring”. He probably hates Ricky Ponting more than Clive Hamilton.

    There are some implicit assumptions which should be addressed. The author seems to think that actions which work against the player’s chances of winning do not break the game’s rules. What, because it’s not written anywhere that players must try to win? Because the rule of law means all possible rules and their infringements must be pedantically documented for every semantic possibility? Then it’s just lucky I’m still not in jail for so often threatening to murder a beer and then proceeding to do so. Next time I visit the casino I’ll demand a 1000-page signed contract before getting chips since there’s no other possible way people could enjoy gambling, or the casino could operate profitably. Insinuating that sabotaging one’s own chances of winning doesn’t break the rules of cricket is transparently silly. The value of the rule of law depends on a whole bunch of common sense assumptions which everyone shares.

    The author probably also assumes that 3 no-balls couldn’t have any real impact on the outcome of a test match. If so my suspicion of his disinterest in the game is confirmed and he should just be a good libertarian and leave our private cricket community to itself.

    And yes one of the duties of the police in any civilised society should include supporting the gambling market which allows punters indulging in harmless fun without their stakes being stolen. I’d hope they’d take an interest if one croupier at the casino held me down while the other emptied my wallet (easier to do it the lawful way).

    So what to actually do about this cheating? I don’t know, on the one hand it’s fucked that these dudes get paid a pittance and can’t cash in on the IPL. On the other hand they really have fucked their own country and cricket loving people. It’s not like they’re irreplaceable either, Pakistan has been producing so much talent for so long despite such insanity that if the whole team got the flick you would barely notice within 12 months, 10 more ridiculously talented players would take their place.

    All except for Amir, who is a once-in-a-generation talent. He should get off because he’s just so good. And he’s fucking 18 years old. I mean come on.

    If any of you libertarians have an interest in medical science or would simply like to fling some poo at me in my own cage please come and visit me at http://parachuteebm.blogspot.com/

  17. Ban parachute em please. Last post was completely unprovoked name-calling, trolling and arguing in bad faith. He/she obviously has no interest in anything other than stirring.

  18. 2 hours and still I’m not banned. My patience has limits you know. Isn’t there some way I can do it myself?

    Before I work that out Yobbo, are you planning on contributing to the discussion or are you too busy scouring blogs looking for other bloggers to whinge about? What’s with the name by the way, were “Easily Offended” and “”Oversensitive Type” already taken?

    *if that doesn’t do the trick then I don’t know what will*

  19. That’s a lot to think about Parachute. Rules is rules: fair enough, but just because something is a rule doesn’t necessarily make it good. I think there’s a material difference between the rules of the game and additional rules on general conduct.

    Example: Ben Cousins was pinged for taking some drugs which had no performance enhancing effect. He broke the rules; he got kicked out of his club and ultimately out of the game. But the ‘no cocaine’ rule is different from other game rules. I’m not nihilistic about rules, but some rules are stupid. And not liking a rule doesn’t mean I don’t think private governing bodies should have the freedom to create whatever rules they like.

    The definition of cheating is slippery. I take a narrow interpretation because I don’t like what happens with expansive definitions (see above). My point is that I don’t think the Pakistanis were cheating at the game of cricket, though arguably they were cheating in other ways.

    I don’t think that affecting the odds on a bet is necessarily cheating — many do. I don’t like the implication this has for markets. People think that trades should all be ‘fair’ ex-ante and that’s silly. By extension I don’t like the idea that the police become involved to ensure that trades are fair.

  20. Joe & ebm are good mates and this is just some friendly snark. They have to tease each other online now because ebm was too pussy-wiped to show up to our regular poker game last night. Soft.

  21. Thanks for nothing Humphreys, now I’ll never get banned.

    @Clark, yeah look ok you’ve made the point of not liking the specific rule from early on and that’s where we differ. I think I’ve outlined why I think deliberate no-balls should be punished whatever their motivation, because they decrease the value of the game to all involved in a direct and concrete way, not because there’s some moral outrage being perpetrated. As stated I wonder if you just feel the odd no-ball won’t really make a difference, but you tell me. I say not striving to win as hard as possible decreases the utility of the game to all involved, what do you say?

    Obviously I won’t buy the Cousins analogy as blind Freddie can see that his taking drugs so hard and so well was the best thing to happen to that game in many ways. I don’t hear anyone saying that his drug-taking made the game less worth watching, just a bunch of moralistic white noise crap.

    I won’t take up the “cheating” question, I don’t have a stance on that.

    I’m still pretty surprised though that you’re arguing against a betting market receiving legal and police support on this website. I don’t think your reference to people wanting “fair” trades is relevant. Put it this way, if everyone knew players were rigging spot fixes then there would simply be no betting market, the legal and police support allows the betting market to exist, never mind making it “fair”. I mean what are you saying, that there’s no problem with American homeowners telling a bank they’ll make their repayments and then “changing the trade” “post-ante” and simply not paying?

    Now back to Mr Oversensitive Yobbo. I’ve looked at my post again and honestly can’t see what had you running off to tell Sir. I think I presented an argument as cogent as Clark’s original post and reflecting my true beliefs. I don’t know, would it have worked better with pictures? The closest I get to insult is accusing Clark of not being that into cricket, but as explicitly stated that’s a central point too, if you don’t really have an emotional investment in cricket you might think deliberate no-balls don’t matter.

    On this cricket-dedicated blog http://www.cricketwithballs.com/ I and other bloggers personally insult each other at every opportunity, it’s a lot of fun (look for Alex’s entries though he’s been absent recently). How funny it would be if I was banned for being offensive in a cricket-related discussion on a Libertarian Society blog; you can see why I’d welcome it happening. Humphreys’s intervention was unnecessary, I’d have posted exactly the same in response to anyone, maybe a little less respectfully to someone I didn’t know.

    You sound like you need a hug. Seriously though, and respectfully, if this degree of tepid warmth brings you such discomfiture do you really want to be in this kitchen? I mean is this blogging thing really for you? Also, why don’t you go fuck yourself you dimwitted wet-blanket crybaby nincompoop. 🙂

  22. But the ‘no cocaine’ rule is different from other game rules.

    Yes but it serves a purpose in terms of protecting the investors money. If mums don’t send their boys to play a particular code because the stars in that code are bad role models then the code loses future income streams. Mums incentives align investors incentives which in turn align player incentives using these types of rules. I think it’s a quite beautiful process.

  23. Yes but it serves a purpose in terms of protecting the investors money. If mums don’t send their boys to play a particular code because the stars in that code are bad role models then the code loses future income streams.

    Mums don’t think like that though. It’s a thought that really only occurs in the head of public servant busybodies.

  24. The author does not seem to realise that contract freely entered into has been breached by the players who cheated.

    The cheating players agree not to cheat when they played and they were compensated for playing assuming they were not cheating. There is no low requiring any of them to accept ICC rules and contracts. They enter them freely for compensation by money under a contract with rules, which they violated. Of course the ICC is going to get rid of them.

  25. The ICC can do what it likes. I just don’t think people are thinking very carefully about why they are so outraged.

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