When it comes to administrative ineptitude, Cricket boards across the world will give the George W. Bush administration a run for their money. The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) absolutely takes the cake with their inefficiency, lack of backbone to follow through with their own decisions and the punishments they hand down to the players. The England and Wales Cricket Board (EWCB technically, but ECB for our discussion here, as no one except for the Welsh care for the Wales part of the Board.. Also, I heard the Cardiff pitch sucks), is slightly better than the PCB but not by very much.
While everyone has been focused on the spotfixing scandal involving the Pakistani players, the goof ups by the ECB are flying under the radar. The English pride themselves in the rule of law, the power of democracy, and general hoity-toity-ness. take out or rearrange sentence?]. By their own rules, one of the fundamental tenets when it comes to someone being accused of any wrongdoing is that the person is presumed innocent until proven guilty.
All you have is a shady agent/bookie caught on an undercover sting carried out by a tawdry tabloid, claiming that he has connections with the Pakistan players and can spotfix. There is no proof (not yet, anyway) that would be admissible in a court of law, that could bring about a criminal case against the players and perhaps, get a conviction. For starters, the tape could have been made after Aamer and Asif bowled the no balls. As was noted in this Guardian news article, it is going to be extremely hard to prove anything beyond a reasonable doubt.
Even if a court case is brought on at a later time and the evidence incriminates the players and leads to a conviction, all these things have not happened yet. There is no legal case filed against the players and yet, everybody is treating them like criminals. There have been allegations of impropriety and accusations are flying in from all directions, thick and fast. I say, Hold on a minute. The burden of proof is with the accusers and not the players. The players don’t have to come out and prove their innocence.
Giles Clarke, the ECB Chief who happily ran around holding hands with thatscamming twerp Allen Stanford like they are BFFs, all for a chance at loading up their coffers with ill-gotten money, treated Mohammed Aamer at the post-series ceremony at the Long Room in the Lord’s with so much disdain like he had leprosy* or something. Why the fuck did you hold the presentation ceremony indoors in the first place? What were you afraid of? Boos? Get a grip. If the people who have paid through their noses feel cheated by the allegations and want to let the players know exactly how they feel, then let them. Freaking pussy, this Giles. I guess all the Clarkes are pussies at some level (I don’t know most of them but let’s assume I am right on this one since includes Michael Clarke).
If the ECB was so convinced that Aamer and the Pakistani players are guilty before any concrete proof has been produced, why even continue with the tour? How sure are the ECB that by sitting down Aamer, Asif and Butt the stink of the allegation would somehow magically be cleared off Pakistani team? Oh wait, what’s that? ECB stands to lose close to $25 million if the ODI and T20 leg of the tour does not go on? Well then, let’s compromise our morals for money. Sounds a lot like the crime the ECB and everyone else with a primary education in Cricket is accusing Aamer for.
The PCB, as screwed up as they are, are at least, in my opinion, doing something right – which is, the players will be treated as innocent until there is concrete evidence to the contrary. The whole “he said, she said” is not going to work. The ECB (the beacon of justice that they pretend to be) needed to do it as well. They should have let Aamer and Asif continue to play for Pakistan in the ODI and T20 portion of the tour. That would’ve been the most civil thing to do. But they caved in to their own ideas of public pressure and a media circus and forced the PCB to “drop the three players from the rest of the tour, although not formally suspend, while investigations continue.” What a farce!
Let us see how up with the times the ECB is. Kevin Pietersen – preens too much for my palate – tweeted, seemingly by mistake, his displeasure at being dropped from the English ODI and T20 teams. By the time he realized, it was too late and too many people had taken a screenshot of the tweet (including friends of the blog, Lizzy Ammon and Thoughts from a Dustbin). Of course, Pietersen “apologized” later on saying some bullshit about how his thoughts didn’t come out the way he wanted and it was not meant for the public domain. Geoff Miller, the ECB selector, when asked about his views in Pietersen’s rant, responded thus:
I don’t like that kind of language and I don’t use that language at all. I don’t follow Twitter and I’m not a great believer in that kind of thing. I don’t think it is necessary.
Take your time getting to 2010, Geoff. What was that thing I said about hoity-toity?
*-The Cricket Couch does not believe that people with leprosy should be treated with disdain.