The News of the World was given proof that a middleman could, for a price, feed them tips about the outcomes of parts of Pakistan v England matches. The three no-balls ordered up for The News of World were designed to convince the paying ‘punter’ that lucrative outcomes could be and were already being delivered to subscribers to the middleman’s services. The no balls were proof of purchase. The real gambling opportunities that they pointed to would be linked to credible betting opportunities, like numbers of wickets to be taken by bowlers, batsmen to score, fifties, or hundreds or dare we admit it 150s. With spread betting fortunes can be made on unusually high scores and the number of wickets to fall to any bowler staked from any moment in any innings.
Yesterday, Third Man speculated on what might have been had Ian Chappell been Aamir’s captain on Friday. He did so because at around noon on Friday he thought England would be out for under a hundred, the conditions were so conducive to the undoubted talents of Aamir and Asif. Even then the disparity between the wickets taken by Aamir and Asif seemed extraordinary.
But he was also increasingly surprised to see Butt take the foot off the England throat. He could not believe some of the bowling changes and field placings. Why no sustained attack? Why no third slip? Why use your two strike bowlers so sparingly with the new ball? Why take off Aamir just as Broad reached 99. Why use a part time leg spinner? Now, one even has to speculate on the missed chances (two slip chances in an over) and juvenile miss-fields.
Third Man and many others have been saying that cricket should have been more active in its fundraising for the flood victims of Pakistan. The immediate misery of close to 20,000,000 people needs to be relieved by rapid global aid. The medium term consequences to the infrastructure of the areas affected need skills, material, planning, co-ordination and more funds from the international community. The longer term struggle for the hearts and minds of the Pakistan people needs a global outpouring of goodwill and fellowship.
All three of those necessities to a greater or lesser extent have been jeopardised by these accusations.
Cricket has not only failed to respond with its full potential, it has conspired to make things far, far worse.
The real winners of these match fixing accusations are the Taliban and Al-Qaeda. The losers will be the victims of their violence and the victims of their tyranny.
The drive for aid MUST now be redoubled.