Wednesday, 22 September 2010

An Open Letter To Ijaz Butt

Dear Mr. Butt,

You don’t know me. I’ve been a cricket fan for over twenty years. I’ve watched some great moments in all forms of the game. I’ve seen countless greats come and go over the years.

I know who you are. A former Pakistani test cricketer who had a modest record. You were appointed chairman of the Pakistan Cricket Board two years ago. For want of a better term you’re the public face of your country’s team.

I’ve been watching my home country England play your country this summer, and while there has been some good cricket these encounters will always be remembered for what happened off the field.

First came the spot fixing allegations uncovered by the News of the World, which saw Salman Butt, Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Amir suspended, with a fourth player, Wahab Riaz also questioned by the police. Your country’s High Commissioner in London, Wajid Shamsul Hasan, claimed it was a conspiracy against your team.

Then, after Pakistan defeated England in the third one day international at The Oval last Friday you claimed that several England players had thrown the game for large sums of money.

So I would like to ask you this, Mr. Butt. Where is your evidence? So far you haven’t actually provided any. All you’ve done is come down from your high horse and thrown baseless accusations around in an interview with an Indian journalist. You’ve haven’t quoted any sources, and you haven’t actually shown us anything to back up your claims.

But I have another question for you, Mr. Butt. It’s a rather interesting one, but I’m pretty sure that you won’t answer this.

You see, I know your team has had a rough time of it in the past couple of years or so. You’re unable to play home matches because of security threats. You recently had a terrible away series against Australia where you didn’t win any matches. And your team, despite a few good performances in the one day series and one of the test matches, has clearly struggled for the majority of the time here in England.

So my other question is this. Is your international team so bad that they only won that third one day match because the England team threw the game away?

Was the batting performance of your middle order so good because James Anderson, Stuart Broad and company deliberately bowled badly?

Did Umar Gul only take six wickets because the England batsmen deliberately batted badly?

Do you have so little faith in your players, Mr. Butt?

At a time when Pakistan is trying to recover from a terrible natural disaster you, as one of your country’s sporting ambassadors, are coming across as a total buffoon, trying to blame everyone else for your cricket team’s problems.

So my one request to you, Mr. Butt, would be to please keep quiet. Let the ICC and the various authorities continue with their investigations into this affair, because in the long term you’re only dragging a game which millions of people around the world love further into the gutter.

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