Voice from the Rooftop

Blog of Vincent Augustine D'Souza

Category: Pakistan

Barack Obama and Golden Temple

Barack Obama is due to visit India and visit to Golden Temple proved a problem because of the headgear he was required to wear. Wearing a headscarf is asking for trouble as 18% of Americans think he is a Muslim and his wearing headscarf would have been seen by many as proof of his being a Muslim, an unacceptable risk. Baseball is not acceptable to temple authorities.

Some Americans are hostile to Barack Obama. They find fault with him for various reasons. Some blamed him for not showing emotion during BP oil well crisis. People who want emotion should see movies with emotion. Barack Obama cancelled his visits to Australia, Indonesia and some other countries to handle the crisis. When Pakistan had flood crisis Asif Ali Zardari went ahead with visits to UK and France.

Some question Barack Obama’s citizenship even though Barack Obama’s citizenship has been proved. Though such people are not large in numbers their mischief making potential is great. American economy has not improved to a satisfactory level and with about 10% unemployment Barack Obama’s popularity is low in USA.

After 9/11 many Americans mistook Sikhs for Muslims and some Sikhs were attacked. Osama Bin Laden and men close to him wore turbans and had long beard. Sikh men wear turbans and keep beard. Most Americans could not differentiate between Sikhs and Muslims. For them Sikh and Shaikh are one and the same. The photograph of Barack Obama at Golden Temple with Sikhs would have been interpreted by his opponents as Barack Obama at Golden Mosque with cousins of Osama Bin Laden.

ICC and Pakistan

ICC suspended Salman Butt, Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Amir on 3/10/2010. Pakistan’s High Commissioner in London Wajid Shamsul Hasan said Indian bookies had framed Pakistani cricketers and blamed Sharad Pawar for suspension. Mohammad Asif’s former girlfriend Veena Malik had blamed Indian photographer Dheeraj Dixit for involvement in match-fixing.

Some Pakistanis see conspiracy in the sting operation by News of the World. They should see Pakistan’s record of inexplicable losses over the years. There have been inquires, sometimes action taken against players for sometime, but most of the times players were back in the team. In 1999 Pakistan lost to Bangladesh in World Cup and Wasim Akram said “We are happy to lose to our brothers.”

Geoff Lawson, who was Pakistan’s coach, has mentioned an incident when one Pakistani selector wanted an undeserving player to be in the team because the selector had received a threat that if the player was not in the team the selector’s daughter would be abducted.

Wajid Shamsul Hasan should either mention the names of Indian bookies who framed Pakistani cricketers or retract his statement. Many Pakistanis are in denial and someone said RAW is behind the sting operation. They should ask why Shahid Afridi gave up Test captaincy after one Test in the four Tests series against England. They should watch the recording of Shahid Afridi’s deposition after Australia series.

Some want betting to be legalised in India. They say it is easy to control when it is legal. They are being naive. In England betting is legal and spot-fixing took place in England. Who is watching the bookies? What is the guarantee that those appointed to watch bookies will not accept bribes and keep quiet? ICC’s anti-corruption unit did not unearth any case of match-fixing or spot-fixing. When legalised betting will be more widespread and many more will lose money due to match-fixing or spot-fixing.

Match fixing and spot fixing

Pakistani cricketers are in news for match-fixing and spot-fixing. That should not surprise. The way Pakistan had lost some matches was an indication that something was wrong.

Pakistanis have been caught but it is foolish to say only Pakistanis were involved in match-fixing and spot-fixing. Many matches involving different countries raise questions and sometimes the role of umpires needs to be probed. What is passed off as umpiring error could be match-fixing. It could have been going on since the last millennium.

When Sachin Tendulkar was to lead the Indian team to Australia one BCCI official predicted that India would lose the Test series 0-3 and that series witnessed many umpiring errors and India lost the series 0-3.

When Anil Kumble was captain and India toured Sri Lanka there was decision review system. The decisions went in favour of Sri Lankans though TV replays showed that Sri Lankan batsmen who were correctly ruled out by field umpires were ruled not out by the umpire on decision review system. After that series India did not want decision review system. Recently in an ODI Dharmasena’s three decisions were against India. Some felt India should have opted for decision review system. They were naive. All three decisions after review would have been against India.

There is talk of Indian bookies being involved in match-fixing and spot-fixing. That would not be surprising considering the amount involved in betting in India though betting is illegal in India. Some have doubts about IPL matches.

One can assume match-fixing began when betting began. Bookies wanted profits and they tried to fix matches. Betting is business. Profit is the motive.

After Pakistan’s loss to Australia some Pakistani cricketers were banned for match-fixing but they were soon back in the team. It seems PCB is unwilling to act against fixers.

Some say Pakistanis began match-fixing in 1979. Asif Iqbal declaring Pakistan’s Innings 40 runs short of India’s score was the reason to say the Test was fixed.

In 1981 Australia’s Dennis Lillee and Rodney Marsh were involved in betting. Australia had enforced follow on and England has lost seven wickets. At that time Lillee and Marsh bet that England would win.

There are various suggestions for punishing players for match-fixing. One suggestion is to confiscate property of the players involved match-fixing. Another suggestion is to expunge the records of bowers. Suitable punishment for players who fix matches to lose would be to try them for treason and get them maximum punishment.

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