To start with, I wish to plea autrefois-convict in open court of cricket fans and the Pakistan Cricket Board.

I have been watching cricket from mid 90s, and I believe that this game is in our genes. Everyone is a cricket analyst/editor. This is not just a game but an element of self-actualization. Public spirit rises and falls with every tournament and cup. Sweets and confectioneries are distributed on heydays and televisions are broken upon serious lows. This is much of what life is about, most of the time. The game has given us Davids and Goliaths, underdog heroes and villainous invincible teams.

Cricket is also plagued, like any other game there is. The plague has its levels and at times versions, based on perceptions, superstitions and prejudice, regional and global, to be specific. From the 90s case of Saleem Malik, then the 99 cup fiasco and till the very sting operation of 2010 series in England, we have had our share of this, 'cake of plagues'.

Let’s go back at the time of the 2010 sting operation. Mazher Mahmood, a notorious journo now in jail for his fraudulent stings, staged an operation luring in Pakistan’s top players, Mohammad Asif, Salman Butt and Mohammad Amir. The three were caught for an innovated version of the plague, harmless for the result of the game and ironically an offense not yet legislated under the cricketing laws. The three accepted the charges in the end and were sentenced for the offence.

All three of them, have served their ban sentence and are in pursuit of continuing their career in cricket. And alas! Against the wishing of many conservative fans and fellow players. Amir has been lucky enough to make it into the national team and is currently trying to serve the national flag. Asif and Salman are performing in domestic cricket. Apart from being humiliated in the PSL draft, Asif and Salman are sticking to the basics, while continuing to let their cricket speak for itself. Their recent performances for WAPDA team, in Quaid-e-Azam trophy have been consistent and are commendable.

Personally speaking, it has been unfair for the three, ever since they have served their due sentence. They are legends-in-the-making, of cricket, when it comes to their game and skill. Asif is one of the top bowlers, who is always a treat to watch with his good line and length bowling as well as the ability to swing two subsequent bowls at the same pitch, both ways. Salman is an intelligent batsman, who is a clean hitting opener and has by far, the best command on English language in Pakistani Cricket team, with some real witty replies to offer to the sports anchors, in the language, and can be one heck of a commentator in time to come. Amir is an endless potential and an epic combo with Asif, as an early strike bowling duo.

Once one has been punished, it is unfair to punish that person twice for the same reason. You can say that they did something illegal and I will say they were framed and thus, were unlucky to get involved. You can say them to be life banned for ruining country’s name and I would say the game has rules and they were dealt accordingly. You can say we need to make an example for the future culprits and I can question your philosophy of game that turns, a match lost, into a murder.

Asif and Salman, are already performing in the domestic cricket. Asif’s videos of recent dismissals just reminds me of the 2008, when he was at peak of his cricket. Thus, the point being, there should be either a clear, unbiased, without prejudice, selection policy from the Pakistan Cricket Board, for cricketers who have exposure to international cricket in their past or else they should be stopped being ignored and hence, be given a fair chance to play in national team. Whereas Amir who is already performing in national side and has proven to be a good decision to include, from the cricket board, who is already now an integral part of the team. The cases of discrimination from fellow players should be strictly dealt and in moments of any propagated pressure, should be defended as our own, not left to dry. The ‘boys’ need to be supported not vilified, so, they can redeem themselves with pride.

Please stop making Asif, Salman and Amir subject to double jeopardy!