Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Sport Matters – mimitig

For the past week the sporting world has been obsessed by two affairs. One the usual of the Transfer Window – an example of how two disassociated words have become a phrase known even to not terribly keen football supporters such as I. The second is another two word phrase: “spot-fixing” – this time a phrase not known to keen cricket followers (I would suggest) unless they are part of the murky world of illegal betting.

Now here’s a thought – before we go on to discuss spot-fixing and the Pakistan cricket team in more detail – but having heard that it is possible to “spot-bet” on events during a football match eg will a player in a certain match kick a “long ball”, what are the chances of such bets being laid on what will and won’t happen in the transfer window?

I’m not a betting woman, and I don’t understand at all how these things are done, but it strikes me that with a bit of insider info, someone could make a pile on knowing if, say, Harry Redknapp was going to stick in a bid to Dynamo Moscow for a certain player in the last hour of the window.

Is that corrupt?

It’s not my place to judge the answer on that any more than it is my place to judge on what is happening now in the cricket. What is my place, my duty, my privilege and my right as a fan is to comment.

I choose to make my comment here at Pseuds. A place of convening for fans of all sorts of sports and a place that has been immensely important to me. I have been allowed to bimble on about my love of cycling and men in lycra for years. Some people have actively encouraged me and followed my writings with praise.

Some have been kind enough to tolerate my love of motorsport – especially the men in leather – and agreed that such as Rossi are sporting heroes to be taken to our bosom.

Occasionally when I have turned my keyboard to the successful exploits of our men and women in strange shark-suits in the pool, kind readers have enjoyed.

So it is here that I wish to write about the unpleasant things that are happening now. To coin a phrase, or rather to steal someone else’s words this is “The Curious Incident of the Spot-betting Fixer In the Night-time”.

I use that reference very knowingly. First, of course, I learned of the News of The World story on the radio on Saturday night, so that’s the night bit, but there is meaning in the “curious”. Not only, as I write is absolutely nothing proved against anyone but also the allegations that have been made do make episodes in the Pakistan cricket team’s history more curious.

Curiouser and curiouser said Alice as she fell down the rabbit hole and entered a world that was a mystery to her. I wonder if this might have been how 18-year-old Mohammed Amir (spelt Ameer in a horrid Daily Mail article) felt entering the Pakistani dressing room for the first time? Then, having an approach from a dodgy dealer, maybe threatening his family, does he have anyone to turn to? A dormouse? A mad hatter?

The only chap he knows is alright: Shahid Afridi has been dispatched (yes I do know about the bitten ball and the ballerina act) from the team because he’s too honest.

Amir may have spoken to no-one. Maybe he felt unable to or perhaps he tried. Perhaps he was surprised that a senior bowler, Mohammed Asif, his captain, Salman Butt and maybe others seemed to play outwith the Spirit of the Game.

It may be a long time before we get answers to these questions.

My feeling is that despite what we know, not just in this last week, but what we have either known or suspected in Pakistan cricket for many years, what we must do is help them.

Some of the very greatest heroes of the game have come from Pakistan and some of the most fire-crackingly wonderful play.

From what I read, the great Imran Khan is getting closer to being involved with a clean up. I would beg readers here: say expletive off to the Daily Mail and its owner’s racist attitude towards everything. Instead read Rob Smyth’s brilliant, emotional but sensible article here.

Then make your choice.

Abandon Pakistan cricket totally or support the ICC and the ECB trying to help them root out corruption and be the players we, as fans want to see playing around the world.

Pakistan cannot do this alone anymore than they can help their flood victims alone. But you know, and I know that if we can give, as we do, to the country, then we can make our feelings known to the PCB about the cricket.

I don’t have a disaster link for giving to the floods, but I do know that if you give to the Imran Khan then that is given.

So where do we go next: there is a man at the Filth of mail and I gather his comments are nasty – ho yeay that’s what I said.

Look ye, my friends. We are one with Rob and all of emotion. Play fair these times and don’t do racist crap

If you must love deceased then LF

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