Kolkata: Wounds of the past have come back to haunt Pakistan cricket once again as lanky left-arm pacer Mohammad Irfan has been provisionally suspended by the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) from all forms of cricket for his alleged involvement in spot-fixing in the recently concluded Pakistan Super League (PSL). Irfan, who played for the Islamabad franchise in the T20 tournament, has been charged of two violations of the anti-corruption code set by the PCB.
In an investigation conducted on Monday, the giant pacer owned up to the fact that he did not inform the anti-corruption unit of the PCB that he had been contacted by bookies before the second edition of Pakistan’s glamorous T20 tournament got underway. As a result, the PCB made this move. In a statement, the mother body of Pakistan cricket said, “The Pakistan Cricket Board in furtherance to its investigation into potential corrupt practices has today issued a notice of charge to Mohammad Irfan under the PCB Anti-Corruption Code.”
The statement further added, “He (Irfan) has also been provisionally suspended with immediate effect from participating in all forms of cricket.” The PCB also stated that Irfan would be given a time period of 14 days to respond to the charges that have been put on him.
“Irfan has been charged with two violations of Code Article 2.4.4 and now has 14 days to respond to the Notice of Charge,” the PCB statement said. Earlier while the PSL was in progress, left-handed batsman Sharjeel Khan and all-rounder Khaleed Latif were provisionally suspended by the PCB due to their involvements with bookies.
Irfan and Karachi Kings batter Shahzaib Hasan were questioned too but were allowed to compete in the tournament. But after the final in Lahore, both these players were called upon by the anti-corruption unit. After Irfan, it is now Shahzaib’s turn to show up before the unit on Wednesday.
Irfan thus has been charged with violating Article 2.4.4 of the PCB’s anti-corruption code which clearly states that a player will be violating the rules for “failing to disclose to the PCB Vigilance and Security Department (without unnecessary delay) full details of any approaches or invitations received by the participant to engage in corrupt conduct under this Anti-Corruption Code.”
The PCB further strengthened its stance towards removal of corruption from cricket when it said, “PCB’s investigation will continue with regard to any questionable activity by any player and player support personnel as it carries on with its mission of eliminating the menace of corruption from cricket.”
It was just in February that another Pakistani, Nasir Jamshed was detained by Britain’s National Crime Agency for his involvement in spot-fixing, as a part of the same investigation.
Irfan, who is a veteran of 84 international games for Pakistan is one of the most talented cricketers to have emerged from the country but incidents like this, are a major setback to what looked like a promising career for the pacer.
The PSL final in Lahore was a history defining moment in Pakistan cricket. And although it gave rise to hopes of a revival of Pakistan cricket, spot-fixing only proves that there’s a long way to go for Pakistan cricket if it wishes to be corruption free one day.