The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has decided against jumping to conclusions over corruption allegations levelled on six umpires, including two from Pakistan, by an Indian television channel, and said that the body was monitoring the situation and is onboard with the International Cricket Council (ICC) on the matter.
Pakistan’s Nadeem Ghauri and Anees Siddiqui were among the umpires named – along with four others from Bangladesh and Sri Lanka – in a sting operation carried out by India TV. The umpires were shown expressing willingness to give favourable decisions and providing match intel in exchange for money.
Following the development, the ICC initiated an ‘urgent’ investigation and asked the channel to provide information on the matter.
‘PCB in touch with the ICC’
Meanwhile, the PCB termed it a sensitive matter and said it was being monitored closely.
“We are in touch with the ICC on the case,” a senior PCB official told The Express Tribune. “The board maintains a zero tolerance policy towards corruption just like the ICC and the issue will be dealt accordingly after a thorough investigation.”
The official, however, declined to make further comments on the issue. He also refused to state whether the PCB was planning to summon the two Pakistani umpires.
Meanwhile, Ghauri, who officiated in a number of Tests and ODIs, has rubbished the allegations.
“It’s a false story,” said Ghauri. “The allegations are baseless and I will consult my lawyer on the issue to decide action. I have given my version to the PCB on the matter today. The money I was talking about was for officiating matches in the Sri Lankan Premier league for which the caller approached me. I did not ask for money in return for the favour.
“I have done nothing wrong in my 12-year umpiring career. This is a conspiracy of the Indian lobby which wants to dismantle Pakistan’s cricket.”
Apart from the Pakistan umpires, all the other four have also termed the allegations baseless.
Razzaq issued showcause notice
In another reaction, the PCB issued a show-cause to all-rounder Abdul Razzaq after his outburst against Twenty20 captain Mohammad Hafeez, signalling the start of disciplinary action against the cricketer.
Dejected at being dropped from the playing-XI against Sri Lanka for the semi-final, Razzaq blamed Hafeez for his ouster despite a valuable innings in the previous game against Australia. The all-rounder had also claimed that the team management wanted to include him but Hafeez was adamant on excluding the all-rounder.
“Razzaq’s remarks breached the code of conduct,” said a PCB official. “He has been issued a show-cause for the offence and has been asked to respond within seven days.”
Razzaq does not feature in the PCB’s list of centrally contracted players but the official said he was a signatory to the code of conduct and was bound by the rules as he featured in the tournament under the PCB flag.
Meanwhile, another official close to the matter said a disciplinary hearing will be held if Razzaq fails to satisfy the PCB with his reply.
“Razzaq’s remarks were a serious offence,” said the official. “A punishment will be on the cards if Razzaq fails to give a reasonable reply.”
However, Razzaq said he was yet to receive the notice from the PCB.
When asked whether he planned to explain his version to the board, the all-rounder told The Express Tribune that he remained ‘undecided over his course of action’.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 10th, 2012.