Bumble blogs on Amir's future, Tendulkar's ton and why he expects stalemates in Sri Lanka.
Last Updated: 21/03/12 12:21pm
The question of Mohammad Amir's future reared its head again this week.
Michael Atherton interviewed him for Sky Sports (watch it here) and also wrote an impeccably-researched 10,000-word newspaper column, giving his views on the subject and raising the issue of his rehabilitation in cricket.
I have been in contact with Michael and I'm afraid we'll have to agree to differ on this.
Sport is all about opinions. I've said I believe Amir should be banned from cricket for life and I've seen nothing to change my mind.
He should be welcomed back into society and he can do something worthwhile, but keeping him out of the sport indefinitely would be the ultimate deterrent.
There are a couple of arguments that I find difficult to come to terms with. People are saying he is a world-class performer and should be allowed back. Are we saying if he wasn't any good he would still be banned?
The other argument I find unclear is that he is only a young, naïve kid. If an Englishman, a Scotsman, a Russian or a West Indian did the same would that also be fine?
This will open up a massive debate and on Twitter people have spoken about Mark Waugh, Steve Waugh, Hansie Cronje, Mohammed Azharuddin and Ajay Jadeja. That's all irrelevant in my view.
I'm talking about this particular case. Amir has let the game down, he's let his country down and - although this is less relevant - he's let himself down. The punishment is there.
I'm only a commentator, nothing more, but I would find it very difficult to commentate on him or any of those who have been tainted by this scandal.
That's just my view. Feel free to have yours.
Sport in perspective
It was a rather subdued weekend for sport following the Fabrice Muamba incident. It's good to hear he is still fighting and the medics must have done a fantastic job.
As David Pleat said, if something like that is to happen then a Premier League football ground is a good place because there's so much medical support.
It brought to mind the case of Roger Davis of Glamorgan, who was hit on the head fielding at short leg in 1971. His heart and his breathing both stopped, but he's still around today to tell the tale.
I also recall New Zealand's Ewen Chatfield being hit on the head by Peter Lever in a Test match against England and he too stopped breathing. Thankfully, he's also still around and I know the incident had a profound effect on Peter.
Sport is sport and that should be it. It should be full of drama and emotion, but you don't consider it to be about life and death.
Ton-derful for Tendulkar
There were great celebrations for Indian cricket followers after Sachin Tendulkar finally scored his 100th international century.
It's an extraordinary feat from one of the greats of any era. It's very difficult to compare players from different decades, but his record speaks for itself.
India eventually lost the game, but it didn't seem to matter to the supporters. John Etheridge of The Sun pointed out that personal milestones seem to be above anything else in the mind of Indian spectators, which is an interesting view.
It's difficult to balance because the world of cricket has been waiting for him for so long to score that hundred. He admitted that it was a great relief for him.
And as the photographer, Gareth Copley, pointed out, the Tendulkar hundreds will be like London buses now; they'll keep coming come one after another.
I've been keeping an eye on the results of the Asia Cup and it's a fantastic achievement for Bangladesh to reach the final.
What a wonderful story. These lads have kept dusting themselves down again and again and again and this is an important milestone for them.
They can be a very unpredictable outfit, but they've been striving hard to improve. We've seen New Zealand and Sri Lanka struggle to work their way up into senior cricket and Bangladesh have done just fine. I admire the way they've gone about things and I think that they are playing their part in international cricket.
That brings us to the competition in Dubai where the associate members are scrapping away for two spots in the ICC World Twenty20. At the time of writing, Ireland are top of one group and Afghanistan are at the top of another (another marvellous story).
Teams like Namibia, the USA, Bermuda, Oman and Nepal have been taking part and I think t20 is the way forward for these teams - and if you're looking for an incentive, just think back to Netherlands beating England at Lord's in 2009. It can be done.
It looks to have been a cracking competition and I would commend the ICC for that. They have an edict to take the game more global and that will not be easy.
T20 is the way to do it though, rather than going to other countries with a five-day game that sometimes ends up in stalemate...
Stalemates in Sri Lanka?
Speaking of which, if I was a betting man (and I am) then I would be backing a draw in both of the Test matches between Sri Lanka and England.
Without Muttiah Muralitharan and Chaminda Vaas the Sri Lankans don't have a great attack and it's certainly not as good as Pakistan's. Those players were matchwinners in any conditions and they are hard to replace.
England's batsmen should be able to handle the Sri Lankan bowlers, but the hosts still have a wonderful batting line-up. I expect the pitches to be featherbeds and that's why I can see stalemates.
It's very hot and humid out there and I anticipate a slow pace and a lot of drinks breaks. It was comfortable for England in Dubai and Abu Dhabi, where the weather was Spring-like, but this will be different and they may have to play five bowlers.
They'll be reluctant to do that and perhaps they'll ask Ravi Bopara to bowl a few overs. England aren't comfortable with the out-and-out bowler Tim Bresnan alongside two quicks and two spinners. I believe they will play the two spinners and I think it could be another occasion when Steven Finn misses out (unless Stuart Broad isn't fit).
And by the way, I'm not going out there. The three going from Sky Sports are Nick Knight, Athers and Botham, but I'll be watching at home.
Be careful if you're in Portugal this week. The Regiment have gone out there to play golf from Tuesday until Saturday under the leadership of Group Captain Clarke. I'm awaiting reports and will share them with you next week.
What could possibly go wrong...?