PSL chief reassures players as probe widens

PCB is not planning to suspend any other player at the moment, says a top board official


Our Correspondent February 12, 2017
Sharjeel Khan and Khalid Latif with the alleged match-fixer. PHOTO INP

DUBAI: The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) is not planning to suspend any other player at the moment, a top board official said, even as the cricketing body’s Anti-Corruption Unit questioned three more cricketers on Saturday.

Left-arm fast bowler Mohammad Irfan, left-arm spinner Zulfiqar Babar and opening batsman Shahzaib Hassan were the latest to be questioned in an ongoing probe into attempts to corrupt the Pakistan Super League (PSL) a day after Sharjeel Khan and Khalid Latif were suspended.

The T20 league was rocked on Friday following reports that the two Islamabad United players were found involved in match-fixing. Sharjeel and Khalid were immediately sent home.

Match-fixing, mud-slinging no more

“PCB ACU has questioned M Irfan. Inquiry will continue. He does not face any immediate suspension,” tweeted the chairman of both PSL and PCB’s Executive Committee, Najam Sethi, following rumours that the towering pacer had also been suspended.

“PCB ACU has [also] questioned S Hassan and Z Babar.

They will continue to play the PSL T20,” he added in his next post on the microblogging web portal.

While Irfan’s personal belongings, including his cell phone, have been seized by PCB officials, he too will still participate in PSL until the investigations are over.

“No more player suspensions are envisaged during PSL PROVIDED there is no NEW cause for action,” Sethi wrote in another tweet. “Failure to promptly report any attempt to corrupt and subvert PSL will be cause for action,” he clarified.

My son did nothing wrong, claims Sharjeel’s father

The PSL chairman urged the media to ‘stop speculation’. “Players should relax, play the game and bring joy to millions of fans at home and abroad,” he said, assuring that “PCB ACU will remain vigilant and continue to protect PSL from the menace of corruption”.

Six players are thought to be involved in the PSL match-fixing scandal, The Express Tribune has learnt. According to sources, players from other franchises such as Lahore Qalandars and Quetta Gladiators are also being investigated by the management.

Sources said bookies gave certain batsmen bat grips of a specific colour, so they could by identified by gamblers during matches. They also offered them Rs500,000.

Published in The Express Tribune, February 12th, 2017.

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