Ban on Shakib for silence on bookie overtures

Telegraph India

Telegraph India

Author 2019-10-30 04:27:00

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Bangladesh Test and T20I captain Shakib-al Hasan, a talismanic figure in the cricket-crazy nation, was on Tuesday banned from all cricket for two years with one year of that suspended for failing to report to the International Cricket Council (ICC) three corrupt approaches — including one at last year’s IPL — by a suspected Indian bookie.

Shakib will automatically miss the upcoming tour of India, including the second Test at the Eden Gardens, Calcutta. He has scored over 11,000 runs and taken 500-plus wickets across all three formats for Bangladesh.

The ICC said Shakib, currently the highest-ranked ODI all-rounder, second ranked in T20Is and No.3 in Tests, had accepted three charges related to failing to report “approaches he received to engage in corrupt conduct”.

The 32-year-old was found to have failed to report two approaches he received during a tri-series between Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Zimbabwe in January 2018 (Bangladesh lost to Sri Lanka in the final), and one related to a 2018 IPL (Indian Premier League) match between Sunrisers Hyderabad and Kings XI Punjab.

“Mr Al Hasan chose to admit the charges and agreed the sanction with the ICC in lieu of an Anti-Corruption Tribunal hearing,” the ICC said in a statement.

To avoid the one-year suspended sentence coming into effect, Shakib must not commit any offence under the ACU code during the initial one-year suspension, and participate regularly in anti-corruption education and/or rehabilitation programmes. If Shakib serves the suspension, he will be able to play again from October 29, 2020, ICC added.

Shakib recently led a strike by Bangladesh’s cricketers, which they called off a week ago when the country’s cricket board accepted most of their demands, including a pay rise and other benefits.

“I am obviously extremely sad to have been banned from the game I love, but I completely accept my sanction for not reporting the approaches. The ICC ACU is reliant on players to play a central part in the fight against corruption and I didn't do my duty in this instance,” Shakib said in an ICC media release.

“Like the majority of players and fans around the world, I want cricket to be a corruption free sport and I am looking forward to working with the ICC ACU team to support their education programme and ensure young players don’t make the same mistake I did.”

In his absence, Mominul Haque will lead the team in Tests while Mahmudullah Riyadh is the captain in the three T20 Internationals. The one-year ban will keep Shakib out of next year’s IPL and also most of the World T20 in Australia from October 18, 2020.

Shakib was spoken to by the ICC’s Anti-Corruption Unit in January and August this year and he failed to report the approaches made to him by “an individual known to the ACU and suspected of involvement in corruption in cricket, Deepak Aggarwal”. The ICC said Aggarwal had asked Shakib to provide information on team composition and strategy on three occasions, one of them being on April 26, 2018, when his IPL franchise Sunrisers Hyderabad was to take on Kings XI Punjab. Sunrisers won the game by 13 runs.

Shakib scored 28 runs off 29 balls and took two wickets for 18 runs in three overs in the match.

“These messages on 26 April 2018 included a number of deleted messages. He confirmed that these deleted messages contained requests from Mr Aggarwal for Inside Information,” the ICC stated.

Aggarwal’s other two approaches were during the Bangladesh Premier League when Shakib was playing for Dhaka Dynamites in 2017, followed by the tri-series against Zimbabwe and Sri Lanka in January 2018.

Aggarwal, the ICC said, wanted to meet Shakib but the cricketer didn’t oblige as “he had concerns over Mr Aggarwal, feeling he was a bit ‘dodgy’, and that, following their conversations, he had the feeling that Mr Aggarwal was a bookie,” it added.

Shakib, who escaped the maximum punishment of five years for the offence, will not have the right to appeal as he accepted the ICC’s investigation and charges.

The ICC said while Shakib’s voluntary admission, cooperation during interviews worked in his favour, the fact that he failed to report advances made over months was an “aggravating” factor.

“Mr Al Hasan is an experienced international cricketer who, having participated in several anti-corruption education sessions, was fully aware of his responsibilities under the Code,” the world body said in its judgment.

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