September 2nd came and went and the 5 year ban on the three tainted Pakistani players ends. The players being Salman Butt, Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Aamir.
Although Mohammad Aamir was given permission to play domestic cricket a bit earlier than his ban expired, everyone is now talking about whether these three players deserve another chance at playing for Pakistan on the International stage.
All three have shown the willingness to play for their country again and say that they will make a place for themselves based on their performances.
Okay, that’s nice to hear, but do we really want these players back in the ranks of the Pakistani team? Players who sold Pakistan for a few bucks? Players who have been labeled as traitors?
The question may not just be about their performances (Mohammad Aamir has been performing admirably domestically). The dilemma is more than just that. What about the effect they will have on the upcoming cricketing generation? Will the return of the trio give them a message that its okay to sell their country, say sorry and come back to play again?
The PCB seems open to taking these tainted players back into their folds, however some former players like Ramiz Raja and Sikander Bakht are dead against this idea. However, legends such as Imran Khan and Waseem Akram recommend giving them another chance.
Do you want Asif and Salman Butt to be back in Pakistan Team?
Ramiz Raza writes on ESPNcricinfo.com
“I am all for rehabilitation and for finding ways to set a young man back on course in his life. But it just can’t be in the game that he sullied and brought disrepute to.”
However Waseem Akram thinks otherwise.
“He was a young boy, he made a mistake and regretted it. He has learnt from his mistake. He went through the ICC rehabilitation programme and was on every video from the ICC on match-fixing. I have seen people make bigger mistakes in their lives, not just cricketers and then come back to do their job. I think he has done his time and we should forgive and forget, and let him move on and play his cricket again. He is a rare talent.”
The Arguments for & Against
People who say that they want the trio to play cricket again say that they have paid their dues by spending time in jail and then being banned for 5 years.
They have a point there but is that enough to curb corruption in the sports world? That is what the other side has to say.
They believe that these three should be made an example of so that no one else dares to do such a thing again.
In my opinion most people who advocate that the three be allowed back are what I call ‘Aamir Biased’. They actually want Mohammed Aamir back playing cricket for Pakistan.
Every debate around this matter generally sidetracks and becomes Mohammad Aamir-centric. Even the PCB made special efforts to negotiate with the ICC for Aamir’s early return and not the other two.
Of course I have an opinion and it matters!!
In my opinion, we should be selective in who we let back onto the field.
Mohammad Asif and Salman Butt were both seasoned players and had been in the team on and off for several years. Both were mature and sensible. In addition to this, both of them were adamant that they did not do anything wrong even when faced with the evidence of spot fixing and certain conviction looming over their heads.
Aamir took a wrong turn at a tender age of 18-19, where one is quite naïve and gullible and easily influenced. He also stepped up after his arrest and owned up to his mistake and apologized to the whole word and the nation for it.
Basically what I am saying is that we should let Mohammad Aamir play and keep Asif and Butt out. However, it is highly unlikely that such a biased decision will be made so it is better to just allow all of them play.
The real test however, will actually be in the dressing room where these players will be with their team mates. It is there where true acceptance will be needed. If the team and players do not accept them back they will never be able to perform and make a place for them on the team, ban or no ban.
So for now, just let them play and let fate take its turn.