The Ghost of Match Fixing Still Haunts The Pakistanis

Pak Lost to Auz to Keep-Off India From Semis – Lost to Kiwis Without a Fight

Pakistan has not played to its full potential when it mattered most and lost to the Kiwis in the second semi-final in the recently concluded Champions Trophy in South Africa which was eventually won by the Aussies. It was not a spirited fight for a place in the finals.

It appears they were going through the motions as if they have already known the results. Or else, the Skipper Younus Khan after winning the toss would not have said that he would be happy with 200 plus, when 300 plus was also a beatable score in such a fine batting strip.

Earlier Pakistan had every chance to beat Aussies in the last encounter, where they lost on the last ball. If they had put a little more enthusiasm in the match, they would have easily won it. That would have enabled India to be in the semis. Exactly to deny India the entry into semis, Pakis played their part but could not hold on to it as they lost to Kiwis in the second semi-finals.

The Pak’s loss to Kiwis has left a long shadow of doubts in the minds of cricket loving people all over the world. Even their own parliamentarian has alleged match fixing allegation against them.

There are also reports that the International Cricket Council’s Anti-Corruption Unit is studying Pakistan’s defeat in the Champions Trophy semi-final to New Zealand. The centre of that study, if indeed one is being conducted, would centre on Younis’ dropped catch of Grant Elliott.

Younis has himself said that he wanted to protect his fractured finger at the time and has added this dropped catch would haunt him for the rest of his life. Every cricketer makes a mistake, so let us not give this story an unnecessary angle, Younus concluded. Whether people believe him or not would not matter as much as the manner in which it was lost.

Jamshed Khan Dasti, who heads Pakistan’s national assembly standing committee on sports, has accused the team of deliberately losing to Australia in the Champions Trophy in a group match. Dasti added the standing committee would summon Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chief Ejaz Butt, captain Younis Khan and Coach Intikhab Alam shortly to explain the team’s performance in the Champions Trophy.

As if it is not enough, Pakistanis were trying to cover up their folly in losing to Kiwis by making wild allegations suspecting India’s hand in their defeat. Muhammad Ali Shah, the minister for Sports and a member of the Pakistan Cricket Board governing council, suspected India’s role in the sub-standard umpiring, leading to Pakistan’s defeat against New Zealand.

“Definitely, it is clear that India were miffed at not qualifying for the semi-finals after Pakistan lost to Australia and they took their revenge in their own way. They influenced the umpires to favour New Zealand,” Shah said. The main accusation came with the wrong umpiring decision of Umar Akmal adjudged LBW at a crucial time by none other than world famous Simon Taufel. He later said to have apologised for his mistake. Pakistanis have demanded one year ban on him.

ICC must consider such serious allegations in such important trophies and take appropriate action to keep the game free from such malpractices. The ODI has already lost its charm and even Champions Trophy matches did not draw the crowd that was expected.

Such allegations of match fixing would bring down the curtains on the ODIs sooner than later. Pakistan is crying wolf after losing to a better team in the semis. Instead of learning a lesson from the loss, it is shifting blame on India of influencing the umpires. These allegations were simply absurd as no empire from international panel would ever be succumbing to any pressure from member countries.

In any event, the game of cricket would be the real casualty if the allegations were proved correct. A gentleman’s game has already lost its charm with dying interest in Test cricket and ODI. The last straw on the camel’s back is T20. If the trend is allowed to cloud these T20 matches also, then cricket enthusiasts would lose interest in the shorter format of the game too.

It is now for ICC to see that the matches are played in their true spirit to keep alive the spectators interests for long. Let them come out clean in this case also. Jai Hind.