LAHORE: With a fixing scandal engulfing the Pakistan Super League (PSL), Pakistan’s cricket chief has vowed to come down hard on the culprits.
Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chairman Shaharyar Khan on Sunday disclosed that a sprawling investigation is underway and once those cricketers involved in match-fixing or spot-fixing are identified, a commission will be formed to slap exemplary punishments on them.
Islamabad United duo of Sharjeel Khan and Khalid Latif were sent home from Dubai by the authorities on Friday after both confessed their links to an international syndicate trying to corrupt the cash-rich PSL.
And Shaharyar said more players could be questioned.
“The investigation will continue as more players could be grilled as some have reported to the PCB anti-corruption unit about bookies contacting them but some haven’t reported which is also a crime,” he told Dawn in an exclusive interview after returning from Dubai.
“I’m not in the position at this time to give exact number of the cricketers involved but once the investigation is completed, a powerful commission will be formed to give exemplary punishments to the culprits.”
Shaharyar fended off the criticism coming PCB’s way with the latest fixing scandal raising questions on the country’s cricket governing body to allow fast bowler Mohammad Amir to return to international cricket following his five-year ban for spot-fixing.
“We followed ICC’s rules and regulations in allowing Amir back but this time around, we will strictly penalize anyone caught,” he vowed.
Shaharyar, however, said that he was in constant contact with PSL chairman Najam Sethi.
“At the moment, Sethi has told me that there’s no further suspension in the offing and the PCB anti-corruption unit is making all out efforts to unveil the culprits,” he said.
The PCB is also under fire for allowing friends and relatives of the five franchises to stay at the hotel where the teams are staying.
“Sethi has held a meeting with the franchises and told them they would be responsible for the outcome of the inquiry,” Shaharyar countered.
“We were expecting the arrival of the bookies in Dubai [for the PSL] and made strict arrangements and before the opening match [between Islamabad United and Peshawar Zalmi], a detailed briefing was given to both teams and officials about corrupt practices and its consequences.”
Before the PSL, Shaharyar attended the ICC meetings where the ‘Big Three’ system was voted down.
The system, introduced in 2014, saw India, Australia and England getting a stranglehold on world cricket and given major share from ICC’s revenues.
“Only India and Sri Lanka asked to defer the discussion over the but the other 10 member countries cast their vote in favour of the discussion so it’s a big success and I must thank [ICC president] Shahanak Manohar for his positive role in this regard,” Shaharyar said.
He said the head of ICC Task Force on Pakistan Giles Clarke had presented a very positive report about the security situation in Pakistan and he also suggested the member countries to visit Lahore for the PSL final on March 5.
“Clarke told the members that if their cricket board presidents can’t visit Lahore, they should at least send their security teams to analyse the situation,” the PCB chief added.
Clarke visited Lahore on Jan 27-28 with the ICC security official to examine the security situation in Pakistan, in an attempt to revive international cricket in Pakistan.