Tag Archives: Cricket

Corruptions of Cricket

‘Corruptions of Cricket’ by Tariq Ali for the Guardian, August 30, 2010

Whether in cricket or in politics, corrupt leaders—bar notable exceptions—are often all Pakistan has …

Poor Pakistan. Floods of biblical proportions; millions homeless; a president who pretends to be shocked by cricket’s latest betting scandal when his own persona is the embodiment of corruption. A prime minister shedding crocodile tears because of the cricketing “shame” rather than tending to allegations that flood-relief money has gone missing. And now a sleep-walking cricket captain attempting to deny the ugly truth, but without real conviction, hoping against hope that he will ride out the crisis like others before him and that his bosses in Pakistan’s cricket establishment will cast a veil over this one as well.

Even if guilty, Salman Butt and his vice-captain Kamran Akmal will try to give the appearance of having no idea of the seriousness of the allegations and will try to talk their way back, hoping, as in the past, that after a few gentle raps on the knuckles they can revert to business as usual. That would be a real tragedy, a green light to semi-legalise match fixing, and not just in Pakistan.

The Pakistan Cricket Board is a long-standing joke, its chairmen replaced with every change of government. The current boss, Ijaz Butt, is the brother-in-law of Pakistan’s defence minister, a crony of President Zardari. The International Cricket Council and the England and Wales Cricket Board—somewhat pathetic bodies dominated by political and financial interests respectively—should not fudge this one. Whether Pakistan batting collapses were psychological or based on material interests we still do not know. But the moral collapse of this team stares all cricket-lovers in the face. Any perpetrators should be on the next plane home and the ringleaders given life bans. If guilty, the teenage bowling sensation Mohammad Amir should be banned for some years. His idol, Wasim Akram, is not the best role model on this front.

Some of the media comments on this affair are interesting, but irrelevant. Yes, WG Grace was a cheat on and off the field. Yes, captains of other teams—India and South Africa—have engaged in similar practices. Yes, the betting syndicates are a major part of the problem. So what? Since when has one crime justified another? How many times have I heard apologists for corrupt Pakistani politicians justifying their pillage by arguing that Europe and America also have corrupt politicians. The problem is that in Pakistan that’s all we have, with few exceptions—one of whom is Imran Khan, who was also Pakistan’s finest and most incorruptible captain. read more

From the archive

  • Rocket-Rattling Against Tehran

    May 3, 2006

    ‘This high-octane rocket-rattling against Tehran is unlikely to succeed’ by Tariq Ali for The Guardian, May 3, 2006

    Ringed by nuclear states, Iran’s atomic programme is scarcely unreasonable. So why has Washington manufactured this crisis?

    Till now, what has prevented the crisis in Iraq from becoming a total debacle for the United States has been the open collaboration of the Iranian clerics. Iranian foreign policy—fragmentary and opportunist—has always been determined by the needs and interests of the clerical state rather than any principled anti-imperialist strategy. In the past, this has led to a de facto collaboration with Washington in Afghanistan and Iraq. During the Iran-Iraq war, the clerics had no hesitation in buying arms from the Israeli regime to fight Iraq, then backed by Britain and the US. In the wake of the Anglo-American invasion of Iraq—hoping, no  …

  • Tariq Ali’s speech at the National Demonstration for Gaza on 8th August, London.

    August 13, 2014

    Here is a video of Tariq Ali’s speech at the largest UK demonstration for Gaza on 8th August, London.

  • ‘Imperialism and democracy don’t mix’

    January 1, 2008

    ‘Imperialism and democracy don’t mix’, an interview with International Socialist Review, Jan-Feb 2008

    What role is the U.S. trying to play since 9/11 in Pakistan?

    Musharraf has succeeded in isolating himself from the population, including from sections of the elite, because he’s played his cards very badly. When he came in—like all these military rulers who run countries—he pledged a whole set of reforms. He was the first Pakistani military dictator who didn’t censor the press or ban political parties and trade unions. He said all that will carry on as before, which is unusual.

    In fact, in the first years of his rule the media flourished. It was much freer than it had been even under civilian governments. A whole number of television stations sprang up, which are still in operation. This is one of the ironies  …