Suspended cricketers Sharjeel Khan and Khalid Latif have told anti-corruption units of the ICC and the PCB that according to suspected bookmaker Yousuf Anwar four Pakistani players were working with him to spot fix matches during the Pakistan Super League (PSL).
Information gathered from different sources confirm that in statements given to the ICC and the PCB officials in Dubai, Khalid told that Yousuf and an unnamed foreigner had spoken about four other players being involved with them in the spot-fixing racket.
“The players were asked by the ACU officials which other players were involved in the racket. Khalid and Sharjeel told them they didn’t know anything about other players. But when pressed Khalid told them that the bookmaker and foreigner had claimed to be in touch with four other players which didn’t include Muhammad Irfan or Shahzaib Hasan,” one source said.
The source said the decision to send back Sharjeel and Khalid from Dubai was taken after their mobiles were taken from them and their kit bags searched.
“The ACU officials knew something was going on as they knew what to search for. And when they searched the kit bags they found particularly coloured batting grips given to them by Yousuf and the foreigner,” the source said.
The source also confirmed that the ACU officials had gathered CCTV footage of the two meetings held between Sharjeel and Khalid with Yousuf and the foreigner.
The, source said that in the United Arab Emirates it was not legal to take anyone’s mobile or search belongings without his permission and use it as evidence and perhaps the decision to send Sharjeel and Khalid back immediately from Dubai was taken to avoid any legal complications.
The source also disclosed that on February 18 the PCB ACU officials made the two players sign a post-dated document in which their permission was obtained for taking their mobiles and scanning it.
“It is a complicated case and the ACU guys believe that Sharjeel accepted the spot-fixing offer and they also suspect Khalid did this but he didn’t play in the said match for Islamabad United,” another source said.
Both players have denied the charges of accepting any offer but have admitted they faltered by not reporting any approaches made to them by Yousuf Anwar and the foreigner when they met them.
“The messages uncovered from the mobile phones particularly that of Khalid doesn’t have any solid evidence that they were in touch with Yousuf or Nasir Jamshed for spot-fixing matches. In fact the messages exchanged between Nasir and Khalid pertain to a consignment of new bats to be sold in the UK,” the source said.
Khalid has denied to the ACU officials that Sharjeel Khalid has denied to the ACU officials that Sharjeel accepted any offer.
The source also confirmed that discarded Pakistani batsman, Shahzaib Hasan who appeared before the PCB ACU officials in Lahore on Tuesday had in fact reported an approach made to him over the phone to his team owner and the ACU officials in Dubai but not immediately.
About Muhammad Irfan, the source said he had been sent a notice of charge for not reporting approaches made to him to spot-fix in matches.
Tafazzul Rizvi the legal advisor for the PCB told PTI that Irfan had been charged under clause 2.4.4 which pertains to not reporting an approach.
“Irfan admitted he didn’t report the approaches when he was interviewed by the ACU officials on Monday.”
When asked why Irfan had been allowed to continue playing in the PSL and Sharjeel and Khalid were sent back, Rizvi explained one couldn’t equate both cases with one another.
“Irfan continued to play on because enough material was not gathered which could confirm he had undermined the integrity of the sport. But now that he has appeared before the ACU the board decided he had a case to answer and has been sent a notice of charge to which he has to reply in 14-days time,” Rizvi said.
He said he couldn’t comment on the Sharjeel and Khalid case as it was now before a tribunal and they have denied the charges.
The three-member tribunal formed to hear the Sharjeel and Khalid case has 90 days from the date the players were provisionally suspended to hold its preliminary hearing or the players can ask the PCB to lift their suspensions.
Rizvi said the tribunal at its preliminary hearing will decide on the time line of the case.
He also made it clear that any evidence with the PCB can’t be made public and has to be kept confidential and given to the tribunal.
Former Pakistan fast bowler, Shoaib Akhtar believes that the longer the PSL spot-fixing case lingers on it will open a Pandora’s box specially if the players decide to challenge any decision and go to court.
“I don’t think this is going to be as simple as it looks. We could see a pandora’s box open up later which would not be good for Pakistan cricket,” Akhtar said.