It is still August. The Pakistani no-ball scandal is a perfect August story. All the key ingredients are there: righteous indignation, benighted third world country, poverty, 'gangster' bookmakers, inept/corrupt officials, bent middlemen/fixers, gullible and callow players. And then come the clinchers…..Exposed by the News of the Screws …..and it happened at Lords! Cue Shock, Outrage, End of Empire, It's not cricket etc etc.
Those of us with the inclination to stand back and weigh up what has been exposed recognise this has been coming for many years. The last time Pakistan were found to have been proved to be match-fixing, many senior players were fined and a couple of expendable scapegoats were banned (although, conveniently they had already retired). The judge who led the investigation admitted some years later that he 'let off' some more senior sinners because he 'admired them as players.' One of those 'let off' was Waqar Younis who is the current coach. Say no bleeding more.
Pakistan rates as one of the most corrupt countries in the world. Graft is not only endemic, it is also blatant. The President of Pakistan is known as 'Mr ten percent.' The world cricket authorities are aware of this and appointed an anti-corruption squad to monitor things. Not with any great success though. A NoW sting achieved more in a couple of weeks than they have done in ten years. And what of the ICC who are supposed to rule international cricket? They are not quite as openly corrupt as FIFA but are doing their damnedest to catch up.
It does not behove anyone in the UK to get too high and mighty. This is the land of BAE bribes and Blair pressurising the Serious Fraud Office to drop the charges. It is the land of cash for honours and where the 'old boys network' dominates detrimentally in the upper echelons of power. Where Ministers swan out of office and into Directorships with companies they have had recent dealings with. It is the land where influence is peddled and ability runs second to contacts. It may not be quite so blatant as Pakistan but we are getting there.
And this is the land where a Prime Minister can deceive a country into a war - and get away with it. Compared to that, a few no-balls are neither here nor there.
Say it ain't so Joe.