Cricket’s corruption is symptomatic of a failed value system
Rooting out corruption in Cricket cannot hide a failing justice system
As Mohammad Asif, Salman Butt and Mohammad Amir awoke today their world would have changed drastically to the one they have been accustomed to. Having been found guilty of deliberately bowling no balls in a Test match the three Pakistani cricketers were sentenced from 6 months to 2 and a half years in prison.
The fall from grace has been just as dramatic as it has been tragic, lured by what were in the end offers too good to resist. The trio have forsaken their promising sporting careers for the chance of a quick buck, masters of their own fate but victims of an unscrupulous entrapment by a News of the World reporter. Despite the custodial sentences many have been baying for more blood and harsher sentences. The fact that the players caught red handed were Pakistani has just added to the veiled xenophobia of the old colonial subjects not respecting the sanctity of cricket and the long arm of British law.
Looking at these incidents in the cold light of day and the context of a failed society it is clear that imprisoning those who cheat in a game of Cricket is hardly the pinnacle British justice system. Cheating and lying are by words for the political classes in Britain. The expenses scandal, the cash for questions in the 90’s and the dodgier Iraq dossier show the failure of British justice to bring to book the endemically corrupt of British politics. A rising crime rate and the riots show the lack of respect society has for the law.
It mustn’t be forgotten that whilst Messieurs Butt, Asif and Amir have rightly been punished Tony Blair who took Britain to war on a false dossier, resulting in the killing of a million Iraqi’s walks free. It would be a little premature to be hailing this the best justice system in the world.
In Pakistan the reaction has been equally predictable, in a nation where Cricket is big news there has been effigy burning and the call for life bans. Many in the media cannot understand how anyone could get involved in such corruption when the three had the world at their feet. The answer to this question is not to be found in any International Cricket Council (ICC) investigation but in Pakistani society itself.
Growing up in a world which knows only chaos and the influence of wealth it is little surprise that the Pakistani players would be tempted by the same in their professional careers. In a country where corruption is endemic especially amongst the ruling classes, bowling a no ball in a game of Cricket must have felt like the lesser of all the evils.
Over the coming weeks and months the political elite of Pakistan will use this incident to their advantage trying to root out corruption in Cricket, whilst being knee deep in selling Pakistan to the Americans for a cheap price.
Corruption has become a norm the world over, Cricket is just one example of this. A world dominated by values which give wealth utmost sanctity will only create more people like the three Pakistani cricketers. Whether this be on Wall Street, the Houses of Parliament or in sport.
Whilst as Muslims there is still hope of repentance for Asif, Butt and Amir, the Capitalistic values which inspired them are beyond repair, no amount of bailouts or Occupy movements can fix a failing ideology.