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Wednesday, February 14, 2024

Corruption: From Panama leaks to PSL?

Pakistan Cricket Board vows that an investigation is underway against the cricketers allegedly involved in match fixing and if found guilty they may face life bans.

Corruption distorts all facets of Pakistan’s public life. For the past ten months politicians, media, civil society and pundits on cyberspace endlessly discussed Panama leaks scandal. Respite came for the public when Supreme Court temporarily suspended its hearings, into Panama case. Pakistanis suddenly found a healthy relief in cricket. Pakistan Super League (PSL) matches in Dubai looked so promising and morale boosting when suddenly the positive bubble burst: once again under allegations of corruption.

Sharjeel Khan and Khalid Latif of Islamabad United were sent packing home by the cricket authorities this Friday after allegations surfaced of their links to an international match-fixing mafia. Though it is still not clear what the exact nature of their dealings was, what was promised and who was behind all this.


Shaharyar Khan, chairman Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB), says that he is continuously in touch with PSL chairman, Najam Sethi, who according to Shaharyar Khan has asserted that so far the suspensions are only restricted to two players: Sharjeel Khan and Khalid Latif. However, Shaharyar Khan hinted that investigation may spread and involve other players.

Shaharyar also defended PCB on its decision to let fast bowler Amir Khan re-enter international cricketing. He asserted that PCB is only following ICC rules and regulations but will deal very severely with any such wrongdoings in future.

Imran Khan seems to be completely dissatisfied with the current scenario. He used twitter to express his sentiment.

Cricket analysts wonder if PSL’s image has already suffered irreparable loss. Pakistani cricket and PCB has been a victim of one after the other scandal of match fixing in the last 20 years. India led boycott has made cricketing events impossible on Pakistani soil and PSL had thus provided a much-needed exit from a sort of international sporting isolation. This latest scandal hitting PSL has come at a time when the arrangement of ‘Big 3’ was coming to an end and PSL’s commercial success could have obtained a better deal, from ICC, for Pakistani cricket. However, after the rumors of match fixing scandal involving Sharjeel Khan and Khalid Latif, the stadium in Dubai, on Friday, was literally empty.

Many therefore wonder if PSL has become a victim of a well-planned conspiracy. These fears are reinforced by media claims, rife on Pakistani T.V channels, that the bookie’s Sharjeel and Khalid were in touch have deep contacts in Mumbai, India.