The Pakistan Cricket Board will hold investigations to find out if two more players were allegedly involved in spot-fixing, according to reports. According to the ‘Jang’ newspaper, the names of batsman Umar Akmal and fast bowler Muhammad Sami were repeatedly mentioned during the testimony recorded by the operations officer of the UK National Crime Agency before the three- member anti-corruption tribunal of the Board last Thursday. Sources in the Board said that they could not send any notice or chargesheet to the two players without first confirming if they were involved in any way with breaches of the PCB’s anti-corruption code.
“Their names were mentioned in the testimony and it was revealed by the NCA official that the bookmaker Muhammad Yousuf took their names several times,” one source said. Umar was twice dropped from the Pakistan team in recent months for the tour to the West Indies and the Champions Trophy after failing fitness tests while Sami has not played for Pakistan since March 2016 when he appeared in the World T20 match against Australia at Mohali.
But both players are regulars in foreign T20 leagues. The names of the two players have cropped up during the ongoing hearings into the PCB chargesheet against Pakistani batsmen Sharjeel Khan and Khalid Latif who were charged with breaching several clauses of the anti-corruption code, including meeting with bookmakers and agreeing to spot-fix in the Pakistan Super League earlier this year in Dubai.
Both players have denied the charges and Khalid’s lawyer has made it clear they will be filing a petition in the Supreme Court against the constitution of the tribunal which is headed by a former judge of the Lahore High Court, Asghar Haider who also worked for the PCB as their legal advisor. The two players were sent back from the PSL after being suspended under the anti-corruption code by the PCB.
The Board later suspended four other players in the case including left-arm pacer Muhammad Irfan, who is serving a 12- month ban after admitting to not reporting approaches by bookmakers Muhammad Nawaz, Shahzaib Hasan and Nasir Jamshed, all Pakistan players. While Sami, who has played 36 Tests and 87 ODIs, is presently in Karachi, Umar, who has appeared in 16 Tests, 116 ODIs and 86 T20 internationals, is in London seeking medical treatment for a knee problem.
Umar skipped the ongoing high performance camp in Lahore and apparently flew to London without taking the PCB officials into confidence. Another PCB source said in the wake of the information gathered during the ongoing spot-fixing case, it was also decided to keep a eye on the Bangladesh Premier League in which large number of Pakistani players, including Sami and Umar, play.