In the past few days no less than Shane Watson, Mitchell Johnson, Brett Lee, Simon Katich and Dave Warner have revealed that they have reported approaches by criminal organisations to the ICC through their administrators. Bangladeshis Shakib Al Hasan and Tamim Iqbal have joined the chorus disclosing that they were approached and duly disclosed it to cricket’s highest authority as far back as 2008.
I’ve learned that many players are concerned and have decided to speak after Cricket Australia chief James Sutherland feigned shock and surprise when confronted by journalists over the revelations from London last weekend.
Expect a few more to come out of the woodwork in the next week.
By simply being cricketers their sporting integrity and lucrative sponsorships are in jeopardy and a collective decision has been made to get on the front foot about this murky, distasteful affair.
The players have little choice. The ICC is aphotic in terms of public transparency and with little or no action likely, despite the compelling evidence, all cricketers are prone to be tarred with the same filthy brush.
The ECB’s Chamberlain style appeasement in continuing the tour and the Pakistani’s complete lack of contrition is only adding to the suffering, betrayal and innuendo. That the ECB have stated that the tour must continue because of financial considerations should be an amusing irony but the only one’s chuckling are the Pakistani cretins and their criminal mates.
Make no mistake, from this point forward whichever team play Pakistan, whatever their eleven, are losers before a ball is bowled. Even if they win, the match will appear fixed. Individuals don’t escape either. Stuart Broad played the innings of his life at Lord’s but forevermore, deserved or not, his achievement is tainted with suspicion.
Let’s be fair dinkum. The ICC cannot defeat the criminals and the administrators appear unwilling or unable to rid the game of players that fraternise in their circles. For cricket to survive as a legitimate sport this simply cannot continue. A different approach is needed.
What should be done I do not know but by showing the character off the field that they are applauded for on it, the Australian and Bangladeshi players who have made public their experiences are setting the example that their peers should follow.