Afghanistan wicketkeeper-batsman Shafiqullah Shafaq has been banned from cricket for six years over breaches of anti-corruption rules. The charges relate to offences during the first edition of the Afghanistan Premier League T20 in 2018 when he played for the Nangarhar Leopards, and the 2019 Bangladesh Premier League when he represented Sylhet Thunder.
The Afghanistan Cricket Board said the 30-year-old, who has played in 24 one-day internationals and 46 Twenty20 matches for Afghanistan, had fixed or tried to fix matches in the inaugural Afghanistan Premier League T20 in 2018 and in the 2019 Bangladesh Premier League. The wicketkeeper-batsman pleaded guilty by accepted four charges of breaching their anti-corruption code.
“Shafaq has been charged for breaches of the anti-corruption code which relates to fixing or contriving in any way or otherwise influencing improperly, or being a party to any agreement,” the ACB announced in a statement. It added: “Shafaq was also charged for seeking, accepting, offering or agreeing to accept any bribe or other reward to fix or to contrive… other aspect of any domestic match.”
He was also charged of an attempt “to solicit, induce, entice, persuade, encourage or intentionally facilitate a Participant to breach Article 2.1.” and also failure “to disclose to the Designated Anti-Corruption Official (without unnecessary delay) full details of any approaches or invitations received by a Participant to engage in Corrupt Conduct under ACB Anti-Corruption Code.”
Sayed Anwar Shah Quraishi, ACB’s senior anti-corruption unit (ACU) manager, said: “This is a very serious offence where a senior national player is involved in corruption of a high-profile domestic game in APL T20 2018. The player had also attempted but failed to get one of his teammates to engage in corruption in another high-profile game during the BPL 2019.
This is the first time that a player from Afghanistan was involve in this instance since the country had a fairy-tale rise in international cricket in 2009. Match-fixing has shocked international cricket in the last two decades with life bans for the late South African skipper Hansie Cronje, Indian captain Mohammad Azharuddin and Pakistan’s Salim Malik.
Just last month, the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has banned Umar Akmal from all forms of the game for three years for failing to ‘report corrupt approaches’ ahead of Pakistan Super League (PSL) 2020. Shafaq played the last of his 46 Twenty20 internationals for Afghanistan in September last year. Quraishi also said that Shafaq’s admission of guilt and cooperation had helped him avoid a longer ban.
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