LAHORE -  Pakistan batsman Sharjeel Khan Wednesday handed a five-year ban by Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) anti-corruption tribunal in the Pakistan Super League (PSL) spot-fixing case in February this year.

The tribunal backdated the ban to February 10, 2017, when Sharjeel was first suspended during the PSL and was sent home from the United Arab Emirates (UAE) along with Islamabad United teammate Khalid Latif. Half of Sharjeel's sentence will be suspended, if he goes through the PCB's rehabilitation process.

Sharjeel's lawyer Shaigan Ijaz said: "We are going to appeal against the ban. We are objecting to the decision because we believe three serious charges have not been proven.” Sharjeel stood with his lawyer during a news conference but didn't take any questions.

According to the short judgment of the case, Sharjeej has been banned for five years each for the first two charges and for the remaining three charges he is given six months each ban. “All sanctions imposed shall run concurrently, of the sanctions imposed half of the period viz two years and six months is suspended, for mitigated circumstances and good conduct during the hearing before this Tribunal by the participant, details recorded in the main decision.

“The suspended part of the sanctions imposed will only be got resurrected by the PCB if the participant (Sharjeel) is found guilty and convicted of a similar offence in future, by a tribunal of competent jurisdiction, enacted by the PCB. The period of suspension, undergone by the participant, shall stand deducted from the active sentence imposed,” Shaigan Ijaz added.

The batsman faced five charges of breaching the PCB's anti-corruption code and was found guilty on all five counts by the tribunal and was handed the minimum punishment. Retired judge of Lahore High Court (LHC) Asghar Haider was head of the tribunal while former PCB chairman Tauqir Zia and former Pakistan captain Wasim Bari were its members. "Sharjeel is banned for five years, which has two-and-a-half years suspended," said Asghar and added: "We hold that the participant (Sharjeel) has committed all offences as charged by the PCB under its code."

PCB legal advisor Tafazzul Rizvi said the verdict showed the PCB had solid evidence against the batsman. "Sharjeel has found guilty and with this, our case against the player stood vindicated," he said and added: "The judgment is a proof that all the evidence was strong enough against Sharjeel."

Rizvi also said that the suspended sentence didn’t mean that the player could return to cricket immediately after completing half of his punishment. "There is a lengthy process of rehabilitation which has to be followed," he added.

The 28-year-old opening batsman had been provisionally suspended along with fellow opener Khalid Latif in February for violating the PCB anti-corruption code. The charges centred on a match between Islamabad United and Peshawar Zalmi in Dubai in February.

Off four balls, Sharjeel scored a single, failed to score off two deliveries and was then out. The spot-fixing involves bets on the outcome of a particular passage of play, unlike match-fixing in which there is an attempt to prearrange the result.

Latif, who did not play in the game, was alleged to have orchestrated the deal. Both were also charged for not reporting the matter to the PCB's anti-corruption unit, resulting in an additional six month suspension for Sharjeel.  Under the PCB code, players can appeal rulings before an independent arbitrator within 14 days of the decision. Four other players – M Irfan, Shahzaib Hasan, Nasir Jamshed and M Nawaz -- were also included in the investigation on multiple charges.

Irfan and Nawaz admitted not reporting the bookmaker's offer. Irfan was banned for one year with six months suspended and fined one million rupees ($9,500) while Nawaz was banned for two months (one suspended) and fined Rs 2,000,000. The tribunal is expected to rule on Khalid Latif's case next month.

Jamshed, who is being investigated by Britain's National Crime Agency, was said to be the ‘go-between’ linking the players and the bookie. His case and Hasan's is still under investigation by the tribunal. Sharjeel's career blossomed last year when he cracked a hundred in the first edition of the Pakistan Super League. He then hit a blistering career-best 152 against Ireland and has played for Pakistan in all three formats.

The proceedings included testimony from Andrew Ephgrave, operations manager of Britain's National Crime Agency (NCA) and from Ronnie Flanagan, head of the International Cricket Council's (ICC) anti-corruption unit. The NCA was said to have passed the initial information on the fixing to the ICC, which later informed the PCB of the allegation.

Pakistan has a history of such cases, with former captain Salim Malik and paceman Ata-ur-Rehman banned for life after a match-fixing inquiry in 2000. Six top players -- Wasim Akram, Waqar Younis, Mushtaq Ahmed, Saeed Ajmal, Akram Raza and Inzamam-ul-Haq -- were also fined in the same case.

Another former captain Salman Butt and pace bowlers M Aamir and M Asif were banned for five years and jailed in Britain in a spot-fixing case in 2010. Former leg-spinner Danish Kaneria is serving a life ban over a 2009 spot-fixing case in English county cricket.