DUBAI: Stringent anti-corruption measures employed effectively by the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) foiled bid by an international fixing syndicate to corrupt the ongoing Pakistan Super League (PSL).
Two bookies belonging to an international fixing syndicate attempted to approach players during the PSL third edition in Dubai via social media websites, but their nefarious designs were foiled by the PCB’s anti-corruption unit (ACU), sources close to the matter revealed.
According to evidence available with the ACU’s investigators, the bookies in question belong to India and Bangladesh, and attempted to approach at least three players via WhatsApp and FaceTime. But their plot was thwarted when the players immediately reported the approach to the PCB.
A PCB official confirmed that he has solid evidence that the two bookies were spotted in Dubai; however, they have so far managed to stay away from the teams’ hotel.
Following the corrupt approach, the PCB’s ACU held an emergency briefing at the hotel, where the players were once again warned to stay vigilant against any attempt by bookies to taint the PSL.
According to sources, the players were also shown a photograph of one of the suspects, with instructions to immediately inform the board if the suspect was spotted anywhere near the hotel.
The bookies, according to investigation conducted by the PCB, belong to an international mafia and have been blacklisted by the International Cricket Council (ICC) as well as Test-playing countries.
Information available with the ICC and the UK’s National Crime Agency indicates that both the bookies are in Dubai at the moment.
The PCB has exercised the strictest of security measures in the aftermath of a spot-fixing scandal that hit the PSL last year, which saw cricketers Sharjeel Khan and Khalid Latif get suspended by the PCB for five years after the board’s anti-corruption tribunal found them guilty of playing a role in the corruption.
Fast bowler Mohammad Irfan and all-rounder Mohammad Nawaz were also suspended for twelve and two months, respectively, for not reporting the corrupt approach to the board in a timely manner.
Karachi Kings batsman Shahzaib Hasan was suspended for a year, while the probe is ongoing against former Pakistan opener Nasir Jamshed.
For the third edition of PSL currently underway in UAE, the board has cautioned cricketers to stay wary of social media. They do not have permission to undertake any private trips during the tournament, and can only travel with the rest of the team. The players are also forbidden to meet any guests in their hotel rooms, and can only meet visitors in the hotel lobby.
The owners of the PSL franchises do not have access to the players’ rooms, and are not even allowed to book rooms on the same floor as the players.
As per instructions from the ACU, players are required to inform security upon leaving the hotel, and a security official accompanies them wherever they go.
The PCB has also issued new SIM cards to the players, and the board’s anti-corruption officials constantly monitor all the data records.