At stumps on the first day of the Pakistan v Sri Lanka Test Sri Lanka are 245-2. It’s not been a good day for Pakistan, but the scoreline is not the worst of their problems. The ICC have been given access to all the evidence collected by the CPS with regard to the spot-fixing case and are now looking into Pakistan’s matches before the scandal broke. It’s impossible to know what they will find, of course. It may be that all of the allegations are groundless. Any cricket fan will be desperately hoping that is the case, but it does beg the question of what to do if it’s not.
If it transpires that most or all of Pakistan’s matches are suspect and that there is a culture of fixing in the Pakistan side, as have been alleged, what could be done? It would be a problem far too deep to simply eradicate with bans, or the threats thereof. It would not be feasible to throw Pakistan out of cricket until they get their house in order, but on the other hand how could anyone watch them play with any confidence? The one saving grace is that most of the current side are different from the one that toured England, but if the corruption is set into the administration that would count for little in the long run.
Of all the things that have come out in the trial (including the desperately sad testimony by Amir about his pride of playing for Pakistan) this is, for me, the saddest. There does not seem to be any good outcome that is reasonably likely. The best that could happen is that the ICC finds no evidence of further corruption. It doesn’t look likely, but for now we have to keep our fingers crossed.