Once again Pakistan cricket has come into the limelight and headlines for all the wrong reasons. After suffering for a decade of a torment started with the attack on Sri Lankan cricket team in Lahore, reaching its climax with the fixing scam during England series that followed by a long battle involving legalities to hold the Pakistan Cricket Board offices, the Pakistan cricket had just come out of this crisis on a high.

Mostly, the players’ devotion and Misbah-ul-Haq’s calm influence brought this much-needed boost in shape of prestigious Test mace for becoming the number one Test side and getting applaud from all the corners. It was quite a bumpy ride of players and the PCB officials, who remained always at the receiving end from a bunch of sagacious cricketers. But despite all the negativity, Pakistan cricket started from the scratch and scaled the peaks.

Meanwhile, the much-criticised PCB management was successful to initiate its own franchise-based Twenty20 league last year in shape of successful holding of Pakistan Super League’s first edition. A country, ravaged by the terrorism, started dreaming this ideal platform a way to woo international cricketers to play in Pakistan in the final of the second edition and thus consequently return of international cricket to Pakistan.

The dust of negative vibes had been settled and everything was looking rosy, when a new fixing scam rocked the Pakistani fans and caught everyone by surprise. The spectre of match-fixing has yet again reared its ugly head.

Another trio of spot-fixing has emerged threatening the integrity of Pakistan cricket once again. The shameful actions have triggered a debate, not only in the cricketing circles but elsewhere too. The alleged spot-fixing scandal followed by suspension of cricketers Sharjeel Khan and Khalid Latif besides the arrest and subsequent release of Nasir Jamshed and a bookie named Yousuf in London has rocked the second edition of PSL in Dubai.

Although Khalid and Nasir both have little potential to make it to Pakistan national squad yet they were making a handsome fortune from the game being contracted players and also reaping rewards while playing in domestic cricket as well as some lucrative Twenty20 leagues. On the other hand, Sharjeel has had a bright future ahead with a long and promising career when he fell victim to avarice. He was becoming a hot entity with his flamboyant and solid batting display with already lucrative offers around the globe at his disposal including offers from Caribbean Premier League and Big Bash. What a waste of talent.

But what is heartening for Pakistan fans in this whole saga is the efficiency of the Pakistan Cricket Board’s Anti-corruption Unit and no sign of hesitation from the PCB to take prompt action against this scam – a rarity in the past. One may recalled the reluctant role of the then PCB chairman Ijaz Butt during spot-fixing scandal of M Aamir, M Asif and Salman But, which created a lot of hue and cry and had made the whole brand of Pakistan cricket a suspicious one. Appreciation is one commodity that is wanting from cricketing circles of Pakistan but despite all the criticism from the former cricketers and other sports pundits, this efficiency, firm and prompt actions deserve accolades.

This ‘hatred’ against PCB chairman Shaharyar Khan in general and PSL chairman Najam Sethi in particular will continue to prevail and they would always be put to sword whether they deserve or not. But a little appreciation for their good work won’t harm the integrity of these critics.

The biggest positivity from this entire scenario is the fact that this scandal has not surfaced by a media outlet through some sting operation that has become a norm world over in catching the corrupt. And the other one is that PSL chairman Sethi’s strict and prompt reaction to the situation that has helped in nipping the evil from the bud before it penetrated in the circuit like a cancer.

The Pakistan Super League was always susceptible to fixing goes without saying because of its success. The sharp vigilance of anti-corruption unit has paid off at least and one can hope that no one would be allowed or spared to bring his nefarious designs to disrepute the game.

There is always being said a lot about the lack of conviction in the PCB to implement its rules and regulations for one reason to another. The classical example of this is the Justice Qayyum report, which always remained surfacing, whenever there is an illegal activity or appointment of administrative jobs with the team. Both Shaharyar and Sethi are harping on the board’s zero tolerance policy on corruption yet the presence of players who had been tainted by the said report would always raise the eyebrows and there would always remain a question mark. It is also true that the current management is not responsible for the implementation of those recommendations, yet they needed to frankly come out and give their view point and justification for hiring dirty dozen players as per Qayyum report.

As the effort is appreciable to curb the corruption from the game, but the real test of Shaharyar, Sethi and their aides have just been started. It is to be seen how this whole story would be unveiled and how the persons known for having ‘affection’ and ‘lenient approach’ for the previous fixing trio would be dealt with these new fixers.

Sethi has claimed about the confession of both Sharjeel and Khalid and also about having solid evidence against the players. But in their reply to the PCB, both the players did not make any confession and also denied all the charges altogether. If the players adopt a legal suit and the PCB and PSL officials fail to provide ‘solid evidence,’ the whole saga would take a huge ugly turn, making Pakistan cricket a mere laughing stock.

So where a fair hearing is necessary and it is also necessary to avoid softy-softy approaches and offering players less punishments for their confession. Already, the soft approach towards Aamir, Asif and Butt has given the notion to players that make some bucks, get banned, show remorse and again enjoy the privileges. So it’s a real test of the PCB mettle, whether they would be able to set an example of the corrupt players or not. One thing is sure that if the PCB does not act strictly this time, the Pakistan cricket and its repute would fall to abyss forever.