Butt is a buffoon; his 'Sun' like efforts to accuse the English team of resentful charges of ‘throwing a match' is plain stupid and akin to "The pot calling the kettle black".
Strauss and Co could not handle the mental fallout from such a rotten charge, emotionally they were ill prepared to face Pakistanis in Lords, and rightly so. How can any worthy team accept attacks on their integrity without a shred of evidence and still play? 'Mentally,' as Strauss said, the boys were shattered and could not play.
The present mess on English cricket scene is the sum total of absolute disregard towards emerging talents in Pakistan of 'reverse swing' and doosra. The press has been unremittingly callous about dumping charges of cheating and ball tampering on the two W's doors for two decades. They were supposed to be 'ice men' and perform coolly. We were told media unfairness is part of the game and mental strength; but it appears 'Strauss & Co are sugar candies, they could not hold on to a single assault on their integrity by a 'clown.' Cricketers should be able to handle clowns. In Lords they just buckled under one attack on their integrity.
Now with this kind of background, I can sympathise with the Pakistanis. The kind of 'mental block' the media with its negative charges creates is no fun. One can speculate the siege mentality of Pakistani cricketers. For the last two decades they have been considered as sure shot punch bags for the English media; they have to be mentally prepared for all kinds of brazen charges and play. Sir Botham still believes that the two unplayable deliveries that dismissed Lamb and Lewis in the 1992 Final were not legit. Rob Smyth writes ''I was 16 years old when a cricket ball first spoke to me. In the moist English summer of 1992, the Pakistan fast-bowling pair of Wasim Akram and Waqar Younis made the ball move so prodigiously in the air that even the oldest lags could not recall a relevant precedent. The stock eulogy was that they "made the ball talk". In my eyes it didn't just talk; it wouldn't shut up for three months.'' England was doing Ok, till two of the best deliveries hit them and gave them the knockout punch. It was Sultan of the Swing, Wasim Akram who gave the Englishmen the telling blow. First it was Alan Lamb and then it was Chris Lewis. Those two beauties gave England shock and they slowly withdrawn themselves from the game.
The whispers that Pakistan had illegally tampered with the ball to make it move so dramatically in the air became increasingly voluble, particularly when the ball was changed, without official explanation, during the fourth one-day international at Lord's. Finally, Allan Lamb, England's South African-born middle-order batsman, accused Pakistan of ball-tampering in the tabloids – and so began almost two decades of mistrust and controversy surrounding the team. Much of it has been merited; but equally much of it has been mired in casual, often unconscious racism.'
Until the day Anderson appeared to be able to reverse swing, the two W's were known as cheats; and for the last two decades English press has been single minded about this. If a Pakistani would reverse swing, it was ball tampering; if English do the same, it is an art of excellence. Daryl Hair’s penalty of five runs that led to the Oval brawl until today remains the ugliest piece of the sport, but no one has ever asked where the evidence of ball tampering is. With 16 TV cameras in the Oval, why could Hair not prove it? Until investigations were over, even the heart attack and death of their coach Bob Woolmer was suspiciously ascribed to the players.
Rob Smyth writes 'The suspicion of Pakistan cricket goes back to 1992: it was their highest point, but also their tipping point. There had been contretemps before, of course – most notably with regard to the perceived bias of Pakistani umpires, which exploded when England captain Mike Gatting was involved in his notorious finger-wagging spat with Shakoor Rana in 1987 – but it was the series in England that made them outsiders.
Pakistani cricket had never been healthier than it was that summer. They had just won the World Cup for the first time, and had drawn their three previous series against the otherwise omnipotent West Indies – a staggering and monstrously underrated achievement against a side who routinely thrashed everyone else. Pakistan then won a thrilling Test series in this country 2-1 and England, tired of slipping on the banana swing of Wasim and Waqar, responded with sour grapes. It also began a torrid love affair with the Pakistan team that, in the case of this cricket obsessive, has endured to this day. It is hardly surprising: to fans of the English game, Pakistan are especially seductive because they are everything we are not: unfettered, emotional and exceptionally gifted. When they play England, it is naked talent versus honest endeavour. Vicarious bliss. They also invest thrillingly and unashamedly in youth. Pakistan are top of the list when it comes to Test runs and wickets scored and taken by teenagers, with 6,532 and 363 respectively. England are bottom of both lists, with 388 and 16.'
The worst recent offence was to blame Pakistanis for their scoring pattern in the 39th and 40th over's at the Oval, and start investigation without basic intimation to PCB. This was on instigation of Sun, an icon of ‘page 3 pinup media’ whose only claim to 'rational fame' is based on highlighting 'healthy boobs.' This was dumb and blew Butt’s head off. 'To win by mentally destroying peace of mind' is something that Butt learned the hard way from British media. He now used that inane Scud against Strauss and Co and I would put it as a tongue-in-cheek remark that they failed the test of mental strength.In resposne to Sir Botham 20 years ban for Pakistan I would relate the Gospel of Matthew 7:3, Jesus is quoted as saying, during the discourse on judgmentalism in the Sermon on the Mount, "And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?
This is the adverse psychology that Pakistanis have been routinely subjected to. Welcome to the 'big boys club' Mr Strauss. Stop worrying and learn to play unplayable legit swinging deliveries. What we see today is scum media that depends on the sum total of poison and venom routinely injected through the narrow mindedness of a few greats who see their inability to play the reverse swing as clandestine capacity of Pakistanis to cheat. How else could Australians be bowled for 84 otherwise, they ask? To continue to hurl abuse of such monumental nature for last two decades, the media has to appreciate the cliché that "People who live in glass houses should not throw stones".
I hope it would now pinch on those who matter in world cricket that Pakistani cricketers are human too, and if until today Wasim Akrams two perfectly legit balls can remain illegal than be prepared Sir Botham to get it back in kind is perfectly normal; there are lot of 'If and Butts' around. - Lords was the monumental failure of the mental strength of English team in face of venomous dishonestly motivated attack by Chairman PCB but this is the medicine that Pakistani cricketers more than anyone else has been subject too for last 2 decades, you cannot overlook the past and dissociate it from the present mess.
The media should take a rest and let the bat and the ball do rest of the talking in the last match today. I agree with Strauss and Afridi: "I've got to give a lot of credit to my players for the professional manner they went about their business, and ultimately I'm very proud of them from that point of view. I've got to give a lot of credit to the players from both sides for doing that."
"The boys really performed to the best of their ability, and this is what Pakistan is really all about. We are here to play good cricket."
Strauss's opposite number, Shahid Afridi, is keen to let Pakistan's cricket do the talking