PCB to form judicial commission to probe PSL scandal

Lahore - The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) is going to form a judicial commission to be led by a senior retired judge, which will probe the Pakistan Super League (PSL) scandal and take the culprits to task.

A reliable source told this scribe that a retired senior police official would also be included the commission, which would be formed when the PCB’s anti-corruption unit (ACU) would complete its probe.

“According to the set criteria, first the PCB’s anti-corruption unit would complete its investigation and probe about the suspicious players and during this process, the board’s ACU would also remain in contact with the ICC. Soon after this process is completed by the ACU, the commission will be in action,” the source said.

“All the collected evidences, the players’ initial statements, details of players meeting with suspicious persons, telephonic calls and messages would be presented to the commission,” they added.

The source further said that Sharjeel Khan and Khalid Latif were sent back home after getting solid evidences and their confessions. “Khalid Latif also assured the bookies to follow their given plan but he couldn’t act accordingly on the given plan because he was not part of the playing XI in the first match.”

The source further revealed that fast bowler M Irfan had also met with bookies. “Irfan though didn’t follow the instructions of bookies, yet he didn’t inform the board that he was approached by bookies, that’s why he was found guilty of violating PCB’s code of conduct.” It is pertinent to mention here that Irfan was asked to bowl a bouncer on a specific ball, but he didn’t do so.

The sources also said that right before the first match of the Pakistan Super League, the players were given lecture by anti-corruption unit to save the cricketers from any wrongdoing, but the lecture couldn’t prove fruitful.

The sources revealed that to widen the probe process, the persons behind the scene of the scandal, either living in Pakistan or abroad, will be accessed and investigated to make the commission report more authentic.

Meanwhile, Islamabad United coach Dean Jones said his side has "been through hell" over the last few days after two of their players, Sharjeel Khan and Khalid Latif, were provisionally suspended by the PCB as part of an ongoing investigation into alleged attempts to corrupt the 2017 Pakistan Super League. Three other players - Mohammad Irfan, who also plays for Islamabad, Zulfiqar Babar and Shahzaib Hasan - were questioned by the PCB's Anti-Corruption Unit as part of the investigation.

Sharjeel and Latif were suspended a day after the defending champions won the opening match of the 2017 edition, beating Peshawar Zalmi by seven wickets (D/L method). They lost their second match, however, on Saturday, going down by six wickets against Lahore Qalandars.

"Emotionally and physically the team has been through hell," Jones said after the match on Saturday.

"All in all, we're trying to prepare these guys coming into the match and it's not been the best preparation, I'll be honest with that. The boys came here, they wanted to get out here and have some fun and play. Unfortunately it hasn't worked that way."

Irfan made way for Rumman Raees in the XI for the second match, while Asif Ali took Sharjeel's place. Put in to bat, Islamabad made a solid start with a 73-run opening stand between Dwayne Smith and Sam Billings. They went on to score 158 for 7, with captain Misbah-ul-Haq hitting 61 not out off 36 balls.

Qalandars, however, chased down the target with 10 balls to spare. "When you lose, it's always difficult," Jones said. "It's our first loss in seven games if you want to look back from last year to now. It was a big game for us in a lot of ways but it's one and one (a victory and a loss in 2017), and we are in a position a lot of teams would want to be in. The good thing is we've got a four-day spell now before our next game, when we go down to Sharjah. We'll regroup, go out and enjoy each other's company like we always do. It's my job as a coach to remind them that we failed a bit today but we're in a pretty good position."

"Misbah's always calm, cool and collected," he said. "He doesn't give a lot of emotion away, that's the good thing about him as not many people see the humorous side of him, but we've seen a bit of that over the past 24 hours to loosen things up.

From our owners to Wasim and our senior players, it's been a bit of a tough time but now we'll regroup and we'll get together and move on. Can I just say well done to the PCB? I think they have handled everything over the past 48 hours really well. We're here to keep this great game clean and we'll do everything we can to do that."



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