From Our Correspondent

From Our Correspondent
By Hal LaRoux Updated
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I don't like Cricket, but the latest addition to the Balls.ie stable, John Gooch, he loves it.

John has sent in the following missive from the Cricket front line and in doing so has possibly set up a link between betting scandals, the news of the world and the spread of Al Qaeda.

Good Work Gooch.

“Why Cricket’s latest scandal is a real tragedy” by John Gooch

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International Sportsmen and women are not politicians, they aren’t even necessarily humanitarians, but they do have a unique opportunity to bring joy and pride to their nations. The current Pakistani Cricket scandal has highlighted that those alleged to be involved aren’t just cheating a game, but a whole nation.

Cricket is a game that’s been plagued by scandal for the past two decades, from Hanse Cronje’s tearful courtroom apology to Shane Warne’s drugs ban, via numerous shady incidents involving Mumbai gambling dens, cricket fans all over the globe know what it’s like t feel cheated by those they worship.

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What makes this scandal a real tragedy is the timing. In August this year huge floods devastated large areas of Pakistan, killing 2,000 and leaving twenty-million injured or homeless. The people of Pakistan have suffered more than most in recent years, natural disaster, corruption and a lack of aid from suspicious and unsympathetic Western Governments have caused an unfair amount of suffering. As is so often the case in such circumstances, sport became a natural escape and symbol of hope for those without much to cheer about.

Over the last 10 years Cricket has moved from a game for Pakistan’s elite to one accessible to any one of the nation’s 170 million population. Recently there has been little to cheer about, but this summer’s test victories over Australia provided a timly lift, and indeed helped fans to forget why those games were being played on foreign soil in the first place. The first two tests against England were a sporting disaster, but by the time the side the English media had titled “Pakistan’s Worst Ever Team” had defied the odds with a thrilling victory at The Oval, the whole of Pakistan had a restored sense of national pride and something to believe in heading into the final test at Lords.

We all know what happened next, a gutless performance on the field and a shameless performance off it. Faced with a choice between putting in a performance to restore hope and happiness to a nation so short on either, or answering the grubby siren’s call of Lahore’s backstreet bookmakers, some chose the second. Even a life-ban might not give the trio involved enough time to come to terms with the disgraceful decision they made, or quite how badly they let their country down in its hour of need.

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