The Pakistan Super League (PSL) was a resounding success – a fact that has been noticed internationally. Cricket in Pakistan is a real possibility now, and the Pakistan Cricket Board’s (PCB) efforts in the regard should be appreciated. However, it was not an unblemished tournament. Allegations of spot-fixing and corruption once more surfaced during the final days of the tournament and marred the gloss over PSL. This recurrent problem needs to be permanently handled if Pakistani cricket is to recover its lost prestige.
Initially, Islamabad United players Sharjeel Khan and Khalid Latif were suspended and expelled from the PSL on charges of receiving offers from a suspicious man linked to an international betting syndicate, but the scandal has grown to ensnare several other players, such as Mohammed Irfan and Nasir Jamshed, with Shahzaib Hasan being the latest to be suspended on Friday.
The ever expanding scandal is embarrassing for a board that had not too long ago welcomed back players convicted of spot fixing amid much debate over their inclusion – as international publications keep reminding audiences. The attendant checks and balances put into place now seem ineffective as mere months after its much publicised anti-corruption initiatives, five players are involved in a corruption scandal again.
While the PCB will never admit this, the leniency shown to Muhammad Amir and company may have played a part in encouraging these players. The PCB now has to dispel that notion firmly. The investigation must be pursued thoroughly and charges must be bought against the tainted players in local courts. The English trial of the trio was seen as the world punishing Pakistan for its corrupt ways – this investigation should be Pakistan owned and Pakistan led.
The board must make clear that it is capable of finding and hunting down corruption in sports, and it must hand down exemplary and punitive charges to drive that point home.