Tuesday, 9 November 2010

Zulqarnain Letting Nobody Down

A lot has been said and not said about Zulqarnain-gate. While much of it has been all silliness and joking, let's get serious for a moment.

If what we hear and read about is true, a professional sportsman has been threatened to deliberately (or at least help) lose a game of sport; with threats against his own personal well-being (and of his family) at stake if he does not comply. If we are to believe Zulqarnain, he chose not to throw the game, and as such, the lives of himself and family are now in threat.

Zulqarnain running away from Dubai may not have been the answer, or the right thing to do in the circumstances. He should have informed the ICC or Pakistani team officials of the threats, and given relevant protection in that way. But his decision, which he felt was best for himself and his family, was to seek asylum in England. Zulqarnain is attempting to protect himself and those he holds dear - and he is in no way letting Pakistan down, as a few ex-Pakistani players (such as Asif Iqbal) are suggesting.

Some see Zulqarnain's choice as cowardice. I however, see it as something incredibly brave. By not allowing outside agents (people with unscrupulous tactics which they use solely to make money) to influence the outcome of a game, Zulqarnain is protecting the ideals of the game that we all hold so dear. It may have been the easy option to drop a few catches or get himself out, but Zulqarnain had more respect for himself, and more respect for the game.

What is frightening though is the extreme pressure and coercion put upon Zulqarnain. While Zulqarnain didn't give in to the pressure, other players; fearful for the lives of their nearest and dearest, quite concievably may have. We shouldn't forget that a man at the centre of the spot-fixing allegations is only 18. As an 18 year old myself, I don't know if I'd have the mental fortitude to stand up to these people if my family were at stake.

Pakistani cricket is in a terrible mess, which we already knew before this affair. Whether Zulqarnain is able to aid Pakistani cricket on the pitch again is up in the air; but he can certainly act as a role-model for other Pakistan players put under pressure by these people. If the ICC work with Zulqarnain, he can identify those involved, and bring them to justice. He could also act as someone who started to find an antidote for the rampant cancer which appears to have swept our game. Time will tell whether Zulqarnain was justified in fleeing the Pakistan team, but hopefully his actions will be an amazingly positive step for Pakistani cricket, and world cricket in general. Either that, or he didn't like being fined for breaking curfew.

1 comment:

  1. If the team management or even the PCB are involved in all of this then hq would not have gotten any help there. The fact that he felt no option but to flee Dubai AND Pakistan is a strong indicator (to my eyes at least) that the corruption goes right to the top of Pakistani cricket