What’s the story?
Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chief Shaharyar Khan has issued a stern statement saying that if the players allegedly involved in the recent match-fixing scandal in the Pakistan Super League (PSL) are found guilty they will be banned for life.
"Bookies contacted two players through former player Nasir Jamshed. They wanted to target three players-Sharjeel Khan, Khalid Latif and Mohammad Irfan," Khan was quoted by the Express Tribune.
"If they are found guilty of doing any form of corruption, the board can now ban them for life; not just five years," he added.
In case you did not know
Spot and match-fixing issues have been a plague in Pakistan cricket. Recently Mohammed Irfan made a comeback into the national team after spending 5 years in the wilderness as he was found guilty of spot-fixing in 2011.
After the recent PSL fiasco players like Shahid Afridi too got vocal about the incident saying that if the cricketers were proved guilty they should be banned for life. The PCB too has become quite serious these days in order to eradicate fixing from cricket altogether.
The heart of the matter
A few weeks back Islamabad United players Sharjeel Khan and Khalid Latif were suspended by the PCB under its Anti-Corruption Code, as part of an investigation on an international syndicate which is trying to tarnish the image of the ongoing PSL that is being played in Dubai.
In order to set an example the PCB chief now wants the players to be banned for life if they are found guilty of fixing games.
However, both players have denied the match-fixing charges but have admitted to meeting a bookie on the recommendation of a former Pakistani cricketer.
Reportedly even if they are not found guilty, they are still likely to face a minimum of a one-year ban for violating the PCB’s Anti-Corruption Code.
Both Sharjeel and Khalid are international cricketers. While Sharjeel made his Test debut against Australia last month and featured in 25 ODIs, 15 T20s, Khalid has played in five ODIs and 13 T20s so far.
The PCB expects the investigation to get over by the next 14 days and it will be interesting to see what action the board takes if the players are found guilty. Even a five-year ban can be career threatening for the two cricketers.
The match-fixing problem has plagued Pakistan cricket for long. In order to initiate a cleaning process and to set an example a stern order like a life ban is now almost necessary.