A couple of further cricket games between England and Pakistan have now happened. In the first of these, Pakistan surrendered a winning position. Sound familiar? It should. In the second, they never got to a winning position in the first place. England were efficient in both games. I refuse to provide links to mere match reports. Did the Pakistanis lose because they were paid to, or is it merely that they are now utterly demoralised? Probably the latter, but given that one can’t now be sure it is hard to care. That Pakistan’s cricket bosses had to be bullied into suspending the players revealed as having cheated hasn’t helped. Ijaz Butt in particular looks far more like part of the problem that part of any solution.
I’m reading this kind of reaction quite a lot, the one about being shocked, shocked. As in not actually very shocked at all. But the importance of what just happened is not that cricket fans now strongly suspect Pakistan’s cricketers of cheating, but that we now know it. The cheaters are still protesting their innocence, and the wheels of justice will, as is proper, grind slowly on, but the market (i.e. the fans) is already now speaking, loud and clear. Guilty:
Stewart Regan, chief executive of Yorkshire County Cricket Club, said: “The phones haven’t stopped ringing from people wanting to vent their fury and ask whether they can get refunds.
“I’ve fielded several calls and we’ve had numerous enquiries about cancelling tickets. From the club’s point of view we can’t give refunds simply because of a personal opinion about what’s gone on, no matter how much we might agree with them.”
“Might” agree. Hah. Now I’m watching the TV highlights of the game earlier this evening. The crowd is tiny, heavily outnumbered by empty seats. Pakistan cricket will not soon be forgiven by the English county clubs now caught up in this mess. They will want someone’s blood, and since they cannot expect much satisfaction from Pakistan itself any time soon, they will probably look closer to home.
They won’t have far to look. As Michael Jennings said in a comment on this:
Seriously, the judgment of Lord’s and the ECB looks consistently bad. Somehow they missed getting properly involved in the IPL and ended up doing a deal with Sir Allen Stanford because they needed the money, and they then did this deal with Pakistan (who were unable to play games at home because terrorists attempted to kill the last foreign team that went there, and who India wanted nothing to do with) because they had empty stadiums and needed someone to play in them. Meanwhile, they were unable to do such things as cooperate sufficiently with the IPL so that English sides can participate in the Champions League. They seem to have made the wrong choice every time.
Indeed they do. Meanwhile, in New Zealand, there are fears that revenue from Pakistan tour could suffer. Indeed it could.