DUBAI: Pakistan’s two opening batsmen in their nine-wicket Twenty20 win against England last year have been provisionally suspended by the Pakistan Cricket Board as part of a domestic match-fixing investigation. Sharjeel Khan and Khalid Latif scored 59 runs apiece in that victory at Old Trafford in September but are playing for Islamabad United in the Pakistan Super League T20 competition. Now in its second year, the five-team tournament started in Dubai on Thursday, with a seven-wicket win for Islamabad United against Peshawar Zalmi. Latif did not play but Sharjeel was out lbw for one, leaving Dwayne Smith of Barbados and Australia’s Brad Haddin to score the bulk of the runs and England’s Sam Billings to help the team over the line. Sharjeel, 27, and Latif, 31, are now out of the competition while the PCB and International Cricket Council continue what the PCB described as “an ongoing investigation into an international syndicate which is believed to be attempting to corrupt the Pakistan Super League”.
Both players were part of Pakistan’s team at the World Twenty20 finals last year, and Leicestershire have signed Sharjeel, who made his Test debut in January and is part of his country’s one-day international side, for the T20 Blast this summer. Najam Sethi, the Pakistan Super League chairman, said: “We will not tolerate any form of corrupt activity and as this investigation proceeds we will not hesitate to take further decisive action as appropriate. “The investigation of the PCB Anti-Corruption Unit backed by the ICC ACU has been effective in dealing with this case to date and we will continue to work in the closest collaboration as the investigation proceeds. We are all absolutely committed to relentlessly pursuing anyone who would seek to damage the integrity of our sport.” Shaharyar Khan, the PCB chairman, said: “I must remind all players of their responsibilities in the fight against corruption. They must understand that if they even think they may have been the subject of a suspicious approach, it is their obligation under the PCB anti-corruption code to report it to an appropriate anti-corruption official as a matter of urgency.” No other details of the investigation have been made public, and there has been no mention of any arrests.