Pakistan captain Younus Khan's dropped catch at a crucial point in yesterday's Champions Trophy cricket match against New Zealand has roused suspicions of corrupt play.I saw most of the run chase on the telly, and it was a close one until the last few overs. And the catch was a sitter. I'm not saying I'd have caught it (maybe if it had been the size of a basketball...), but then I'm not a professional cricketer. By the standards of professional cricket it was a shocker.
While strenuously denying deliberately dropping the ball, Younus conceded that the dropped catch cost his team the Champions Trophy semifinal tie in Johannesburg on Saturday.
But are we really going to open corruption investigations every time someone drops a sitter? In that case you may as well indict the entire NZ team now and save us all future bother.
Pakistan has "form" for past nefarious activities on the cricket field, but if Younus really wanted to throw the game, planning to drop a catch would not be the safest way to go about it. It was not guaranteed that a catch would come his way. And I saw nothing else particularly unusual in the game as a whole - nothing to make me suspect match fixing, anyway.
It's debatable whether the dropped catch lost Pakistan the game. If Younus had taken the catch we would still have had wickets in hand, plenty of time to go and big hitters to come. Arguably the game was all but lost by that time. If you want the real reason for Pakistan's failure it is their batting, and the pressure some good NZ bowling put them under.
But these sorts of allegations will always occur when a Pakistani cricketer makes a costly blunder. Who'd be one?