What’s the story?
Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) Chairman Shahryar Khan has revealed that they have collected evidence against Sharjeel Khan and Khalid Latif in the Pakistan Super League (PSL) corruption scandal.
“We have evidence against the players and we are into further investigation. Sharjeel was on my flight back from Dubai, but we did not meet. I am disappointed and angry that after doing so much for these cricketers, they still did something so disgraceful. Under no circumstances will the PCB condone actions of a few individuals to bring disrepute to the game of cricket or taint the image of Pakistan,” Shahryar told reporters at Karachi airport.
Sharjeel and Khalid were provisionally suspended under PCB’s Anti-Corruption Code for allegedly conspiring to commit spot-fixing. Their sanction was closely related to a probe by the relevant authorities into an international syndicate aspiring to corrupt the ongoing edition of the PSL.
The heart of the matter
According to reports from The Express Tribune, the Islamabad United duo had admitted to meeting bookies in a hotel lobby but denied the charges of corruption imposed on them. After their mobile phones were confiscated and scanned for investigation purposes, they were sent back home.
The bookies supposedly offered 500,000 PKR and gave them bat grips of specific colors to signal accordance on the field. The respective central contracts of both players have been suspended till further development.
Aside from Sharjeel and Khalid, the likes of Mohammad Irfan, Zulfiqar Babar and Shahzaib Hasan were also questioned by PCB’s Anti-Corruption Unit. However, the latter trio did not receive any suspension and are clear to continue playing in the tournament.
Parallels from history
As another dark episode rocked Pakistan cricket, several former cricketers have slammed PCB for showing leniency to those who were involved in the 2010 spot-fixing scandal.
Javed Miandad suggested he could notice that something was wrong when Sharjeel was dismissed in the opening game and even went on to blame the board for setting the wrong example by recalling Mohammad Amir to the national team last year.
Going by Shahryar’s words, the concerned officials seem to have hard evidence implicating Sharjeel and Khalid in the corruption scandal. If that happens to be the case, both Pakistani players could face stringent punishments.
PSL’s credibility has already taken a sizeable hit due to the shocking turn of events. It remains to be seen what the next course of investigation brings us.