The Pakistan Cricket Board provisionally suspended Sharjeel Khan and Khalid Latif, the two players from Pakistan Super League franchise Islamabad United, under its Anti-Corruption Code as part of an ongoing investigation into an international syndicate which is believed to be attempting to corrupt the Pakistan Super League (PSL).
‘Sharjeel Khan and Khalid Latif have been suspended and the rigorous and wide-ranging investigation by the PCB supported by the ICC will continue as part of collective efforts to protect the integrity of the sport,’ read a statement issued by the PCB on Friday.
‘It would not be appropriate to comment on the specifics of the case, however, this investigation is a clear demonstration of our determination to drive corruption out of our sport, said PSL Chairman Najam Sethi. We will not tolerate any form of corrupt activity and as this investigation proceeds we will not hesitate to take further decisive action as appropriate, Sethi was quoted as saying.
Sharjeel Khan, the left hand opening batsman had been in pristine form of late, hitting three consecutive half centuries against Australia in the recently concluded tour. The hard hitting opener was also part of the team in the opening match of PSL 2.0 against Peshawar Zalmi, which the Islamabad United won. Khalid Latif was also part of the Islamabad squad but didn’t feature in the opening match.
‘The investigation of the PCB Anti-Corruption Unit backed by the ICC ACU has been effective in dealing with this case to date and we will continue to work in the closest collaboration as the investigation proceeds. We are all absolutely committed to relentlessly pursuing anyone who would seek to damage the integrity of our sport,’ read the statement issued by PCB.
PCB Chairman Shaharyar Khan while commenting on the matter said, ‘I must remind all players of their responsibilities in the fight against corruption. They must understand that if they even think they may have been the subject of a suspicious approach, it is their obligation under the PCB Anti-Corruption Code to report it to an appropriate anti-corruption official as a matter of urgency.’
The alleged links of players with bookies have harmed the reputation of the high profile event. However, PCB’s strict and quick action against the player should be welcome. For now the Board has not detailed many details of the illegalities the players were involved in, it is expected that the players fate will become clear in the coming weeks once a full fledged investigation has been completed. It remains a mystery though that why a player like Sharjeel Khan, who had a lucrative career ahead of him fall in the hands of bookies for a quick buck. International cricket is a lucrative sport these days with players earning millions even in a short career, and with the advent of T20 leagues the money to be earned has quadrupled.
For now the players remain suspended and an investigation is underway. The most unfortunate thing about the whole episode was the unethical coverage of the news by electronic media. For the sake of ratings channels sensationalized the news, some talked to ‘bookies’, some alleged that corruption is widespread and some went to the extent of naming at least half a dozen other players in the corruption scandal without any evidence. One of these players was Imad Wasim; the Karachi Kings player was wrongly accused of involvement in the scandal by a leading news channel. The all rounder took to Twitter to deny the false accusations. Media needs to stop sensationalism and false accusations that in turn harm the country’s reputation.
Certain news channels for the sake of ratings wrongly accused a number of other players as well.
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