It’s a dark day in the history of cricket. Three careers have been destroyed & a family with a newborn split apart. The reported ill-gotten rewards for the three involved must have seemed worth it at the time; or they wouldn’t have done it…..or would they……..I have seen no mention of the earlier allegations of coercion & intimidation of players & their families by “gangsters”……it does not seem to have been offered in mitigation. On that front the only reference to outside forces has been to shadowy figures texting instructions & requirements to the “fixer” Majeed…..justifiably the one in receipt of the longest sentence
It’s difficult not to feel some sympathy for Amir, only 18 at the time & seemingly encouraged to cheat by his Captain, new to the team & possibly a bit naive on a first big tour away from home. He won’t do it again….he may not have the chance….a lifetime ban often doesn’t mean what it says but in this instance it will be a considerable number of years before the ICC entertain any form of appeal, effectively ending the careers of Butt & Asif even if ultimately allowed to play again. Amir we may see again as a thirty something semi-tragic figure plying his trade in less than top class competition. The World Class wunderkind bowling which brought him a 6 for last year only a memory.
(Edit) It now transpires that Amir did make reference in mitigation, to threats, but when given the opportunity to elaborate by the Judge, declined to do so. What is to be made of that?
In the meantime, the game moves on Pakistan are still playing Test Cricket (although sadly security issues mean home matches are played outside the country) despite some (pre-existing) misgivings about their involvement at all. There will no doubt be some tightening of security in respect of access to players. (They’ve long had to give up their mobiles before matches). Lessons will be learned……..& of course
There’s no such thing as bad publicity