Sharjeel apologises as PCB waives ban sentence

Updated August 20, 2019

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Sharjeel was suspended from national and international cricket for five years by the PCB in 2017. — AFP/File
Sharjeel was suspended from national and international cricket for five years by the PCB in 2017. — AFP/File

LAHORE: Tainted international cricketer Sharjeel Khan, currently suspended from playing cricket in a spot-fixing case, has offered unconditional apology to the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB), team-mates, fans and family.

Sharjeel was suspended from national and international cricket for five years by the PCB in 2017 along with Khalid Latif and Nasir Jamshed in a spot-fixing case which erupted on the very first day of the second edition of the Pakistan Super League’s (PSL).

After completing half of the period of ban, Sharjeel, met PCB officials here on Monday and after a meeting it was announced that the left-hander is now allowed to play the game.

“I offer my unconditional apology to the Pakistan Cricket Board, my team-mates, fans and family for the irresponsible conduct that brought embarrassment to everyone. I request for forgiveness and assure I will show more responsibility in my future actions,” Sharjeel said in a joint statement with the PCB.

”I remind all cricketers to strictly and religiously follow the PCB Anti-Corruption Code as breaching it will only earn momentary gains but the consequences will be severe and last for rest of the career,” the statement added.

“I have agreed on the future course of action with the PCB, including helping it in its education sessions on anti-corruption.

“I will soon return to club cricket but will not rush into domestic cricket as I have been away for nearly 30 months and need time to reclaim my fitness and form.”

In the statement, the PCB said Sharjeel has been allowed to re-enter into competitive cricket after undergoing half of his ineligibility period and that he wil go through a thorough rehabilitation process.

”The Pakistan Cricket Board today met with cricketer Sharjeel Khan and agreed with him on the roadmap for his re-entry into competitive cricket. Sharjeel has undergone an ineligibility period of two-and-a-half years for breaching provisions of the PCB Anti-Corruption Conduct,” said the statement.

“It was agreed Sharjeel will complete rehabilitation, designed by the PCB’s Security and Anti-Corruption Department, before the end of the year and then reintegrate into top level cricket.”

“The rehabilitation, among other things, will also include attending and delivering lectures on the PCB Anti-Corruption Code, visits to orphanage homes as part of social service and participating in integration sessions with the Pakistan cricket team players and player support personnel,” it states.

Newly appointed Director PCB Security and Anti-corruption, Lt. Col. (R) Asif Mahmood, says: “We met Sharjeel today in which he showed remorse and regret for his actions. The PCB never takes pride in penalising its players, but it has a non-negotiable and zero-tolerance approach to matters relating to corruption.

“I hope this serves as a reminder to all those who think they can get away with violating rules as the PCB is vigilant and committed to eliminate the menace of corruption from the game.”

In the past, former Pakistan captain Salman Butt, pacers Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Amir had also been caught up in the similar case. After completing half of their ban imposed by the International Cricket Council, they all went through the rehab process by apoligising in public and held press conferences separately. However, in contrary to that case, it seems that leniency has been shown by the PCB towards Sharjeel as the word ‘spot-fixing’ was not mentioned in the statement.

When contacted, a PCB spokesman said Salman, Asif and Amir were penalised by the ICC under its own Code of Conducts of 2010, but Sharjeel was punished under the PCB’s own rules, functional in 2017, in which there is no condition for such cricketers to face media before starting the rehab process.

Published in Dawn, August 20th, 2019