Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) Chairman Shaharyar said that the board has evidence against Sharjeel Khan and Khalid Latif after the duo were provisionally suspended from ongoing Pakistan Super League (PSL) due to allegations of corruption.
The Islamabad United pair were dumped out of the league on Friday under the PCB’s anti-corruption code.
Speaking to the media at Karachi airport, the board chairman said that evidence of wrongdoing exists.
“We have evidence against the players and we are into a further investigation,” said Shaharyar. “Sharjeel was on my flight back from Dubai, but we did not meet.”
The 82-year-old said that he was ‘disappointed’ with both the players. “I am disappointed and angry that after doing so much for these cricketers, they still did something so disgraceful,” he said.
He added, “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.”
The board also released a statement confirming the provisional suspension.
“Sharjeel and Latif have been suspended and the rigorous and wide-ranging investigation by the PCB supported by the International Cricket Council will continue as part of collective efforts to protect the integrity of the sport,” said the board in a statement.
Meanwhile, the PSL said that the investigation centred on “an international syndicate which is believed to be attempting to corrupt the PSL”.
Sharjeel played in the opening match of the 2017 PSL on Thursday for Islamabad United, scoring just one run off four balls against Peshawar Zalmi. Latif was not part of the starting team. Islamabad won the game by seven wickets.
Sharjeel, 27, was part of the Pakistan team which recently toured Australia and featured in a Test and all five ODIs. He has totalled 25 ODIs and 15 T20Is.
Latif, 31, was part of Pakistan’s World T20 squad in India last year and has played five ODIs and 13 T20Is.
Najam Sethi, Chairman of the league said, “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.
“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.”
Defending champions Islamabad, who are in action again on Saturday, said they would be looking to bring in replacements for the banned Sharjeel and Latif.
“We are understandably disappointed at this development but emphasise our commitment to a zero-tolerance policy towards any violations of the rules or stated guidelines,” said the team in a statement.
“We will be looking to find replacements for the squad as soon as possible. As per the PCB’s policy and guidelines, we will have no further comment on this issue,” the statement added.
Pakistan cricket has been rocked by fixing scandals over the past several years.
Former captain Salim Malik and Ataur Rehman were banned for life after an investigation in 2000.
Malik was punished for offering Australian trio Shane Warne, Tim May and Mark Waugh a bribe to underperform during their visit to Pakistan in 1995.
In 2010 then Test captain Salman Butt, Mohammad Amir and Mohammad Asif were jailed and banned for five years for spot-fixing while leg-spinner Danish Kaneria was banned for life in a spot-fixing case in 2012.
The suspension is likely to end Sharjeel’s contract with English countryside Leicestershire to play the T20 Blast tournament later this year. A spokesperson told foreign media that the club would be making no comment on the investigation or the status of Sharjeel’s contract.