The performance of our so-called National Cricket Team during the recent cricket matches between Pakistan and South Africa in Dubai, shamed and humiliated the nation, with their dismal and shameful display of wild strokes and reckless batting.

The world had laughed at the performance of our once, World Champion cricket team, which should now be renamed as our National Guli-Danda team and Mr. Boom-Boom should now be called Mr. Boo-Boo, resign and stick to tossing his hair for shampoo advertisements, instead of tossing away his wicket. And in the back-drop of this, the world paid glowing tributes to the legendary 40 year old iconic, but humble Indian batsman, Sachin Tendulkar, who has made India proud. The T20 Championships have become very popular in India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka, but sadly, they have also become a money making racket, exposing players to greedy bookies and promoters, who entice players with promises of making big money.

Furthermore, once you are selected into the team, you are on a gravy train, as you are guaranteed a job and a life of comfort and luxury for at least 10 years. It doesn’t matter if your team wins or loses or you are a bad player, as once you are a member of the team, you become famous and instant heroes and multinational companies offer you lucrative contracts to promote their products.

There are also windfall rewards from fixing matches, ball battering, fixing results of matches, etc. As such we have the best hitters, the fastest pitchers and ball throwers, the sharpest and clumsiest butter fingers and catch droppers and best match fixers in the game.

These corrupt practices led to the start of the decline of cricket in Pakistan and was triggered by ball-tampering and match-fixing by senior members and allegations of corruption in the team. There were also allegations that huge kickbacks were demanded in Pakistan from the Corporate Institutions that sponsor the matches, which the T20 organizers were reluctant to pay.

The spot-fixing scandal of 2010 had made headline news all over the world and was a damaging blow to Pakistan cricket and crushed the credibility of the sport and its players. Certain members of the National Cricket team were convicted of taking bribes from bookies, to under-perform deliberately at certain times in a Test match at Lord's Cricket Ground, London.

At the same time, undercover reporters had secretly videotaped a senior player accepting money and informing the reporter, that certain fast bowlers would deliberately bowl no balls at specific points in an over. The recording was shown on all major sports channels in the world and humiliated the nation. 

This inside information, known as spot fixing, was used by gamblers to place bets and resulted in a ban and jail sentences of three senior players, who were found guilty by a London court on criminal charges relating to spot-fixing. All were given prison sentences, ranging from 6 to 32 months. Sadly, all these unfortunate incidents of corruption could have been avoided if the Qayyum Commission, prepared by retired HC judge, Jst. Malik Mohammad Qayyum in 1998, after two years of examining all the evidence,

had been fully implemented.

Among his recommendation was, that players' assets must be examined annually. But as always, most of the recommendations that were made in the report were ignored and remained unimplemented.


On top of that, there have been security problems, indiscipline in the team and dressing room intrigues, due to a weak Cricket Board, whose Chairmen are appointed on favoritism, political interference and not on merit, resulting in a volatile cricket culture, with disastrous repercussions.

As one cricket observer had stated: “In no country does the president or prime minister appoint someone to head a sports body. Merit is ignored when appointing people to run the board and they remain unaccountable and that is the root cause of the problems we see in our team. When the players see corrupt politicians in governance, when they see people pardoned in financial scams, they think we can also get away with this. "

Whereas, a former cricket captain had stated: "We have one of the worst cricket systems in place. We work without any long term plans and yet we survive in international cricket only because of the everlasting support of our passionate fans." To add to our corruption troubles, security problems for visiting teams, has become a major issue.

In the past, England, Australia and New Zealand had cancelled tours, due to security concerns, but after the deadly attack by militants in March 2009, on the Sri Lankan cricket team on a bus carrying them to the Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore, no International cricket team is prepared to visit Pakistan.

The SL cricket team was on its way to play the third day of the second Test against Pakistan. In the attack, six members of the Sri Lanka national cricket team were injured, while six Pakistani policemen and two civilians were killed.

The attack had left a bloody stain on the future of cricket in Pakistan and was the final nail in the coffin of International cricket, as after the attack, no International cricket team wants to come to Pakistan.

The sad decline of cricket is not just confined to this Gentleman’s Game, but is also a reflection of the state of affairs in the country. Due to bad governance, lack of law and order and enforcement of the laws, unabated targeted killings, sectarian violence, institutionalized corruption, power crisis, etc., nobody wishes to visit this land of the Pak and the Pure.    

Presently, after completing 100 days in office, Mr. Nawaz Sharrif, our foot-loose Prime Minister, who has spent more time outside Pakistan, asking foreign investors to visit Pakistan, then staying at home and tackling the burning and serious issues facing the country. 

The Honorable PM does not seem to be concerned and has perhaps failed to notice that his government has been unsuccessful in stopping the drone attacks as promised, that parts of the city of Rawalpindi, which witnessed horrifying sectarian violence on Ashura day, are still under curfew, certain parts of Karachi remain tense, due to the continuing turf and gang wars between notorious criminals and fears that the city is tinder box, ready to explode. Under such a backdrop, the citizens are jittery and apprehensive and one cannot expect any sane person to visit Pakistan. 

n The writer can be reached at