You can watch it here:
It was kind of weird watching that. I don’t know, my reactions are sort of all over the place.
First of all, many people (including me) have been asking and demanding that Amir apologize to Pakistan and the wider cricketing world. The basic idea being that forgiveness can only follow contrition. And yet, I felt no real catharsis when I heard Amir repeatedly and profusely apologize in the last few minutes. I felt more sad than anything. Look, speaking for myself, I have no problem with “forgiving” Amir (if he cared). It’s got nothing to do with that. I just thought I would feel lighter if and when I heard Amir apologize, and I don’t, for whatever reason.
Second, I don’t know who this Ali chap is, why Amir exchanged texts with him about money, how he knows Salman Butt and Mazhar Majeed, and how it all ties together. Frankly, I couldn’t be bothered trying to figure it out. I don’t want to play detective with this stuff. All I know is, I don’t believe Amir one bit when he says he didn’t do it for the money, or that money played no role in all this. I know people are complicated, and I know there are myriad, complex motivations for each action that we as individuals take, but come on… I wasn’t born yesterday. Watch him at 12:10 of the first video, with his arms crossed and the gulp he takes before responding. I’m no KGB interrogator but even I know that is body-language speak for “I’m lying! I’m lying!”
Third, I miss him. I thankfully slept through Kohli throwing us around like a rag-doll yesterday. I would’ve liked to see him try against Amir. Wahab and Cheema are one thing, Amir is another. You can argue until you’re blue in the face on whether he deserves to be back and what type of cricketer he could be after five years of banishment. All I’m saying is that I’d like to see what happens when he returns, and I’d like to see him get a shot. He made a mistake. He’s paying his due to society for the next four years. We need to stop baying for revenge as if he’s some warlord who wiped out a village.
Fourth, one thing that is very clear from the video is just how inept the international (and Pakistani) cricketing establishment is at educating youngsters. If you follow other sports, as I do, you know that rookies and youngsters from all socioeconomic backgrounds are force fed information on who they should hang out with, how to handle their money, how to talk to the press, and so on. This is Intro to International Sports 101. And yet none of our players, at least until the fall of 2010, went through any of this, and the consequences are painfully clear. It doesn’t take much, you know. An annual 2 week seminar led by former cricketers, coaches, and agents for all cricketers between the ages of 16 and 21 on the verge of representing Pakistan could not possibly be a serious logistical challenge.
Fifth, Salman Butt, you are a haraamzaada of the highest order.