Match fixing has been a curse to the game of cricket since the time the game was invented. Pakistan is one of those countries, which has been accused of match fixing more than any other country has ever been accused of.
The first major accusation came under the Justice Qayum report according to which various Pakistani cricketing stars were involved in fixing matches, these included Wasim Akram, Waqaq Younis, Inzimam-ul-Haq, Mushtaq Ahmed and various others. The Justice Qayum report offered various penalties for the accused but his recommendations for penalizing the cricketers for their gruesome act were totally shunned.
The biggest and the most controversial match fixing case that Pakistan cricket ever suffered from was the spot fixing controversy of 2010 in which three famous cricketer were allegedly involved in fixing no balls at certain periods of the game. It was the summer of 2010 when Pakistan cricket team toured England. The historic and the king of all cricket grounds Lords was the place where the most shameful incident ever recorded in the history of the game took place. It was the 4th day of the test match between Pakistan and England that news of spot fixing broke on the media. A sting operation carried out by Mazhar Mehmood of England’s News of the World magazine revealed the mischief done by the Pakistani cricketers. The star trio of Pakistan cricket team including the test captain Salman Butt, the experienced master of swing Muhammad Asif and the new bowling sensation of the world Mohammad Amir were caught being involved in spot fixing.
There was uproar in the international arena after this incident as people started questioning the authenticity of the game. The players took money from Mazhar Majeed for bowling preplanned no balls at certain time periods of the game. There were hidden camera videos aired on television recording this cruel act of fixing. The players alleged for being involved in spot fixing were handed punishing bans by the International Cricket Council. The captain Salman Butt was handed a ban of 10 years, Muhammad Asif a ban of 7 years while the youngster for being naive was handed only a 5 year ban from the game of cricket.
Their punishment for this totally unacceptable act did not finish just here. They faced criminal prosecution after the Crown Court determined there was evidence available for the players to be trialed. After several months Mohammad Amir accepted his crime while Mohammad Asif and Salman Butt chose to defend themselves in court. However after the trial was complete they were proved to be guilty. This day marked the darkest day for Pakistan’s cricket as the three Pakistani players were sentenced to imprisonment for varying periods. Mohammad Amir for accepting his crime was awarded a lesser punishment which was 6 months in a young offender’s jail while Mohammad Asif was sentenced for a year’s imprisonment. Salman Butt was handed the cruelest punishment of 30 months of imprisonment as he was leading the clan.
With the disgrace events such as match fixing and spot fixing have bought to Pakistan, the cricketing board needs to get strict and teach its players discipline at the grass root level so they do not head towards earning money the wrong way and play the game fairly as it ought to be played.