Pakistan vows strong stand in corruption probe

Khalid Latif © Gallo Images

Mon, 13 Feb 2017 | 12:19

Pakistani cricket officials said on Monday they would make an example of openers Sharjeel Khan and Khalid Latif if found guilty in a coruption probe that threatens to torpedo the Pakistan Super League (PSL).

The pair, suspended after being accused of meeting a suspicious person linked to an international betting syndicate, could face up to a life ban from international and domestic cricket under Pakistan Cricket Board corruption rules.

PCB chief Shaharyar Khan said officials are seeking a “deterrent” punishment if the Islamabad United players, who have been sent home from the continuing PSL tournament in the United Arab Emirates, are found guilty of spot-fixing.

The PCB will take a strong stand so that players no longer think “they can do something and play after four or five years, so that no one dares to do it again”, he told media in Dubai, where the Twenty20 tournament is being held due to security fears in Pakistan.

Pakistan came under severe criticism for allowing Mohammed Amir to return to international cricket after he, along with Salman Butt and Mohammed Asif, were involved in a spot-fixing scandal at the Lord’s test against England in 2010.

All three players completed their five-year bans in September last year. Butt and Asif are also in line for national selection.

Shaharyar Khan also voiced frustration over the allegations, which Latif and Sharjeel have denied, and the effect they have had on the highly anticipated PSL, in only its second year.

“The whole nation takes a keen interest in the PSL, so it’s an important event and any stigma … is disappointing,” he said.

“More so because players are regularly given lectures on how to avoid corruption.”

Khan said a tribunal would be formed to hear the PSL case, after which a disciplinary committee would be set up.

The PCB is also keeping the International Cricket Council informed.

Three other players – Mohammad Irfan (Islamabad United), Zulfiqar Babar (Quetta Gladiators) and Shahzaib Hasan (Karachi Kings) were also investigated.

“No action will be taken against Hasan and Babar as they are clear. Irfan is still under investigation and may be served a show cause notice,” said Khan.

Both Latif and Sharjeel have denied any involvement.

“I have not done anything wrong and my Allah knows that,” Latif told media in Karachi.

Sharjeel has played one test, 25 one-day and 15 Twenty20 internationals, and recently landed a contract to play English county cricket later this year.

Latif has played five one-day and 13 Twenty20 internationals.

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