What’s the story?
Suspended opening batsman Sharjeel Khan has claimed innocence over charges of spot-fixing in the ongoing 2017 Pakistan Super League (PSL). The 27-year old revealed his version of the events that took place leading up to his provisional ban. He maintained that discarded Pakistan opener Nasir Jamshed tricked him and alleged co-conspirator Khalid Latif into meeting the bookie involved in the fixing scandal.
Sharjeel said, “I’ve done nothing wrong to damage the country’s reputation, things will get clear very soon. Nasir (Jamshed) insisted that we meet with this guy (bookie) and said he was a fan. We got up and left the moment we realized what he wanted. We (both himself and Khalid) have done nothing wrong.”
“I have not committed anything which could stigmatize my country and every thing will come out before the media soon. PCB (Pakistan Cricket Board) has forbidden me from speaking to the media but I am sure that everything will come out before the media.”
Earlier this month, Sharjeel and Khalid were provisionally suspended under PCB’s Anti-Corruption Code for allegedly conspiring to participate in spot-fixing. The duo’s central contracts have been rescinded and PCB issued show cause notice to both batsmen.
On the other hand, Jamshed was arrested along with a bookie named Yousuf. However, the left-hander was granted bail till April after preliminary interrogation by the United Kingdom’s National Crime Agency.
The heart of the matter
PCB Chairman Shahryar Khan declared that the authorities have collected enough evidence to incriminate Sharjeel and Khalid. In the charge sheet released by the board, the Islamabad United duo had allegedly breached sections 2.1.1, 2.1.2, 2.1.3, 2.1.4, 2.4.4 and 2.4.5 of Clause 2 pertaining to failing to report any possible approach from bookies, agreeing/accepting bribe and contriving to intentionally alter the state of a match.
The charge sheet revolves around the opening game of the second edition of the PSL between Islamabad United and Peshawar Zalmi which the former went on to win by seven wickets as well as off-field circumstances surrounding the contest.
After receiving their replies, PCB will institute a three-member tribunal under a judge to conduct the hearings and decide the case. Former fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar has however claimed that the board has protected both Sharjeel and Khalid from imprisonment while calling for a more transperant investigation.
It is entirely plausible that Jamshed, who has a history of flouting the rules, could have tricked Sharjeel and Khalid into meeting the bookie. However, considering the fact that even failure to report approach from a bookie can lead to stringent punishment, the careers of both batsmen are in serious jeopardy.