Shakib Al Hasan handed one-year ban from all forms of cricket for corruption offences

The Telegraph

The Telegraph

Author 2019-10-29 16:07:00

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Shakib Al Hasan, the Bangladesh captain and the world’s no 1 ranked all-rounder, has become one of the biggest names of recent years to be banned for corruption offences after the ICC announced he has been hit with a two-year suspension.

Shakib pleaded guilty to three charges under the ICC’s anti-corruption code related to matches in the 2018 IPL and a tri-series involving Sri Lanka, Zimbabwe and Bangladesh.

Shakib has been banned for two years with one year of that sentence suspended after admitting the charges and accepting his suspension in lieu of a hearing.

“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,” he said in a statement released by the ICC.

“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.”

Shakib is one of the world’s leading players, especially in white-ball cricket. He scored a century against England during the World Cup in June and is a huge star in Bangladesh. His suspension will send shockwaves through cricket in that region and is a significant scalp for the ICC’s anti-corruption unit which under Alex Marshall, a former chief constable, has launched a crackdown over the past two years. It is also a reminder that big name players are still targets for bookies despite the millions of dollars they earn.

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“Shakib Al Hasan is a highly experienced international cricketer. He has attended many education sessions and knows his obligations under the Code. He should have reported each of these approaches,” said Marshall. “Shakib has accepted his errors and cooperated fully with the investigation. He has offered to assist the Integrity Unit in future education, to help younger players to learn from his mistakes. I am happy to accept this offer.”

Shakib’s offences relate to falling to report approaches from a bookmaker named Deepak Aggarwal who approached him three times for inside information over several months while playing for the Dhaka Dynamos in the Bangladesh Premier League, the Sunrisers Hyderabad in the IPL and Bangladesh. He was interviewed twice by the ICC in January and August this year when he admitted he had been approached by Aggarwal and failed to report to the authorities, which is an offence under the ICC’s code of conduct. Shakib said he did not accept any money or reward from Aggarwal and did not give him any inside information. The ICC’s written decision describes Aggarwal as being "an individual known to the ACU and suspected of involvement in corruption in cricket."

The two men first met during the 2017 Bangladesh Premier League. The ICC’s evidence includes WhatsApp conversations between the two beginning in January 2018 while Shakib was playing for Bangladesh against Sri Lanka and Zimbabwe. On Jan 19 he received a WhatsApp message from Mr Aggarwal congratulating him for being named man of the match in that day’s game. Mr Aggarwal followed this message with a message saying “do we work in this or I wait til the IPL”.

The ICC believe the reference to “work” was about providing inside information. A few days later Shakib received another message saying “Bro anything in this series?”, which he confirmed was a request for inside information from Aggarwal.

In April last year Shakib was asked for team information before a game between Sunrisers Hyderabad and Kings XI Punjab in the IPL. The conversation also included talking about bitcoins, dollar accounts and Shakib told Aggarwal he wanted to meet him “first”.

Shakib later confirmed that deleted WhatsApp messages contained other requests for inside information but did not report any of the approaches.

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