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The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) have provisionally suspended Islamabad United batsmen Sharjeel Khan and Khalid Latif as they investigate corruption allegations in the 2017 Pakistan Super League (PSL).
Sharjeel made his Test debut against Australia last month, but has been a regular face in Pakistan’s ODI squad.
Latif, meanwhile, most recently represented Pakistan in a three-match Twenty20 series against the West Indies in September last year.
Both batsmen have returned home from the United Arab Emirates, where the PSL is being held.
The PCB’s investigation into an organisation trying to corrupt the competition is being supported by the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) Anti-Corruption Unit.
“It would not be appropriate to comment on the specifics of the case, however this investigation is a clear demonstration of our determination to drive corruption out of our sport,” PSL chairman Najam Sethi said in a statement. “We will not tolerate any form of corrupt activity and as this investigation proceeds we will not hesitate to take further decisive action as appropriate.
“The investigation of the PCB Anti-Corruption Unit backed by the ICC ACU has been effective in dealing with this case to date and we will continue to work in the closest collaboration as the investigation proceeds. We are all absolutely committed to relentlessly pursuing anyone who would seek to damage the integrity of our sport.”
When speaking to reporters later on, Sethi added: “We were wary about anything like this and that’s why we were extra vigilant, and we had also beefed up our security and anti-corruption unit. We were using other resources to keep an eye on everything, and then we got evidence that some wrongdoing is underway and then we took action. We are guarding against corruption and we will be ready to take action any time, any day against anyone who is going to damage PSL.”
PCB chairman Shaharyar Khan has called on the players participating in the tournament to be extra vigilant and not hesitate to report anything no matter how small it is.
“I must remind all players of their responsibilities in the fight against corruption,” Shaharyar said. “They must understand that if they even think they may have been the subject of a suspicious approach, it is their obligation under the PCB Anti-Corruption Code to report it to an appropriate anti-corruption official as a matter of urgency. Under no circumstances will the PCB condone actions of a few individuals to bring disrepute to the game of cricket or taint the image of Pakistan.”
With Sharjeel and Latif having gone back to Pakistan, Islamabad United confirmed that they will start looking for replacements.
“We are understandably disappointed at this development but emphasise on our commitment to a zero-tolerance policy towards any violations of the rules or stated guidelines,” the franchise said via a statement. “We will be looking to find replacements for the squad as soon as possible.”