Tuesday, 31 August 2010

When there is a will...

We shall overcome. When there is a will, there is a way! My glass remains a quarter full.

On the face of it there is every reason to despair. It is not the first time a Pakistani cricketer has been accused of corruption. The evidence this time is overwhelming it seems, and the corruption seems to run deep through the team and its administration- deemed to be systematic. Pakistani cricketers were already on thin ice after the inability to play domestically following the Sri Lankan incident and the inability to earn like their peers after the IPL snub. Among all this, Giles Clarke (the ECB chair) had gone out on a limb to support Pakistani cricket by opening the "home of cricket" in what was dubbed "the spirit of cricket" Test series. What a slap on the face for him. Who will ever support us now?

The shame is painful for those who have to bear it. You see, supporting Pakistan cricket has always meant defending its players and their actions. No, we don't tamper the ball any more than the others. Yes, there is such a thing as reverse swing and we invented it. No, we don't have a penchant for getting in trouble with umpires. Yes, there is a language problem for our cricketers to properly explain themselves. No, the team is not full of born again Muslim fanatics. And now this! It throws a cloak of doubt over everything you ever believed in. It kills your will to argue with the English press, the Australian players and your Indian colleagues at work

Was it not already difficult to comprehend why it was so tough to raise money for the flood victims. More people affected than the Tsunami, Haiti, Katrina, Kashmir earthquake and every other recent calamity put together and the response has been more tepid than for any single one. It was making my blood boil when I read explanations like "they don't believe the money will get to the people due to the corruption". But not anymore. There is no anti-Pakistan conspiracy out to get us. We do it to ourselves- and only we are able to set it right. We cannot sit there for some benign foreign power to come and pluck us out of our misery- we have to do it ourselves. We cannot keep sweeping the muck under the carpet and expect the stench to go away. We have to deal with these problems of our own making and not expect any favours from others.

The world is full of countries and civilizations that have made a come back from far more dire situations than this: Terrorism, floods, cricket corruption. We shall do it too. There has to be due process, there has to be fairness, but there has to be total accountability and exemplary punishment for those found guilty. And this time, let a life ban mean a life ban. Cricket, floods, terrorism, we can and we will sort it- there is simply no choice. Ourselves, one step at a time. This is a time for belief, not despair. When there is a will... there is a way!