So one thing led to another, and the Crown Prosecution Service’s charging of the three players involved in Majeed-gate was followed soon after by the ICC’s announcement that sanctions against the trio had been carried out, temporarily putting the whole thing to bed (it might as well rest, it’s far from over).
The ruling was a strange one, given all the rambling about minimum charges being harsh in exceptional circumstances and whatnot, as for the time being, all three have been banned from cricket for the same amount of time (Butt and Asif have five and two suspended years). Given the CPS’ charging of the three, there’s still the court date and the players’ appeals against their bans from the ICC to provide more in the saga.
Five years is quite a long time in a cricketer’s career, so what might they get up to in the meantime?
The now ex-captain’s been dropped so times in the past by his selectors that the first year or two of his ban probably won’t feel any different to any other in his career. If he’s serious about possibly being picked again if and when he returns, perhaps he could find someone to work on his running between the wickets. That all depends on whether anyone wants to go out to play with him to be honest, I can’t imagine him being all that popular back in Pakistan at the moment.
If you were to measure the amount of sympathy from the cricketing world that these three are getting, Amir’s probably got 99.9999% of it. When you consider that Steve Finn was the next best thing on the nominations list for the ICC Emerging Player award, you can kind of see just how big an ‘exciting opening bowler’ shaped hole has been left in world cricket. Of the three, at least he can seek solace in the fact that, at 18, he at least has a relative chance of playing cricket at the highest level again. One wonders if he’ll be invited to enough back garden games to stay sharp in the meantime. I mean, I’d be more than happy to have him round for a game, if our back garden was actually long enough for a regulation length wicket. And he’d still be limited to a two step run up.
While his bowling has never been reliant on express pace, by the time Asif returns from his ban, he’ll probably be just a bit too old and rusty to play international cricket again, but given Pakistan’s tendency for strange selection choices, I suppose he can’t be counted out just yet. Other than that, for probably the most intelligent bowler I can think of in recent times, he sure is a div off the playing field – he probably thinks spaghetti trees are real after watching that fake documentary.
And what about corruption in cricket? Well that’s too big a question for my small mind to really give a decent answer, other than a bit of rambling about gambling not being legal on the subcontinent leaving the opportunity for shady gambling rings to exist and how the ICC’s anti-corruption unit being outdone by some tabloid hack dressed up as a fake sheikh leads me to believe that they might as well all dress up as wealthy Arabs and see if it works again.