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‘The Fix’ author Omar Shahid Hamid talks corruption in cricket

  • January 31, 2020

Pakistan has a rich history when it comes to cricket. The country has won two World Cups while its players are making the country proud with their performance around the world.

Despite all its
accomplishments, the issue of corruption in the sport has tarnished its
reputation. In 2010, Pakistani cricketers Salman Butt, Mohammad Asif and
Mohammad Amir were banned for their involvement in the spot-fixing scandal
which rocked Pakistan cricket to its very core.

This came to
haunt them back in the second edition of the Pakistan Super League (PSL) when
five players were found guilty of fixing, or not reporting approaches, made to
them for fixing games or performing poorly on purpose.

cricket, on the other hand, is growing day by day and the side is in Australia
where they will be competing in the Women’s T20 World Cup in February.

Omar Shahid Hamid, a veteran police officer, is a distinguished author as well. He has penned his book “The Fix” which focuses on corruption in women’s cricket and it was launched in Karachi at the Adab Festival at the Arts Council of Pakistan.

A riveting panel discussion was held to discuss match-fixing in Pakistan cricket which Hayat along with Chief Selector of the women’s cricket team Urooj Mumtaz Khan and veteran commentator Qamar Ahmed was held on the event’s opening day with Saad Shafqat being the session’s moderator.

Hamid started
off the discussion by saying that the journey of corruption in Pakistan cricket
can be seen through the eyes of the women’s team which is relatively fresh. “You
sort of see the journey towards its corruption or whatever through the eyes of
the women’s team which has not gone through it all. They are very fresh and
represent the optimism of a young cricket team and face the very cynical things
which have happened to the men’s team.”

The writer
held the cricket boards across the world responsible for collective inaction in
dealing with the issue, which could have been years. He was of the opinion that
match-fixing has increased decline in the public sense of morality. “Perhaps a
sterner action had been taken in the match-fixing scandal of the 1990s then
maybe the spot-fixing scandal in 2010 would not have taken place and part of
the thing I think was that one of the players who was involved in the 2010
thing either said this either privately or publicly that “jo hum ne
(what we did) was nothing compared to what our predecessors did.”

Urooj Mumtaz Khan said that a player can hide the fact that the match has been fixed if they have the skills to do so. “How and why they do it its beyond my understanding. When I was young, I wouldn’t just believe it. I wouldn’t indulge in the conversation. Later on, I realised it’s a sad reality of which I consider is a really beautiful sport.”

Veteran commentator
Qamar Ahmed said that corruption in cricket is a part of life and claimed that
the sport was evolved to entertain the gamblers and the elite class. “They
were fascinated by this only because of the nature of gambling in this sport. It’s
legacy continues. I know every single player and official which has been
involved in this malpractice but the personal tragedy here is that nor can I
write about it because I cannot prove it.”

He claimed
that he wrote about a Pakistani captain who fiddled with the toss back in the
days in couple of matches. “It is not a new phenomenon.”

Answering the role of social media in match-fixing, Qamar Ahmed said that times have changed. “It is not so rampant as we are thinking. There are only a few involved. The players from Pakistan and India come under the allegations more frequently because gambling is illegal. In India, it is only allowed for horse-racing. The people, who love cricket in India, have raised the issue of making cricket gambling legal in the country like it is in South Africa, England and Australia.”

He said that those elements level accuse players of fixing matches who lose money.

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