ICC bans Sakib for 2 yrs

Azad Majumder | Published: 18:44, Oct 29,2019 | Updated: 00:49, Oct 30,2019


Fans and supporters of cricketer Sakib al Hasan shout slogans in front of Sher-e-Bangla National Cricket Stadium at Mirpur in Dhaka in protest against his punishment by the International Cricket Council. — New Age photo

The International Cricket Council on Tuesday banned Bangladesh captain and star all-rounder Sakib al Hasan from all forms of cricket for two years with a one-year suspended ban after he failed to report at least three approaches for corrupt acts.

The ICC said in a statement that Sakib failed to report details of two corrupt approaches during a tri-series one-day international tournament in 2018 and of a third one before an Indian Premier League match of his side Sunrisers Hyderabad also in 2018. 

The ban on Bangladesh’s key cricket performer will remain in effect till October 29, 2020 subject to his satisfying the stipulated conditions in respect of the suspended part of the sanction, said the ICC.

The ban practically ruled him out till next year’s ICC World Twenty20, scheduled from October 8 to November 15 in Australia.

As Sakib has already accepted the ICC charge he is ineligible to lodge an appeal against the ban.  

‘I am obviously extremely sad to have been banned from the game I love, but I completely accept my sanction for not reporting the approaches,’ Sakib was quoted as saying in the ICC statement.

‘The ICC Anti-Corruption Unit is reliant on players to play a central part in the fight against corruption and I didn’t do my duty in this instance,’ he said, adding that he was looking forward to working with the ICC anti-corruption team to support their education programme.

ICC general manager Alex Marshall said that as a highly experienced international cricketer Sakib was expected to report each of these approaches.

‘Sakib has accepted his errors and cooperated fully with the investigation,’ he added.

The ICC revealed that Sakib had been interviewed by its Anti-Corruption Unit in Bangladesh on January 23, 2019 and August 27, 2019 in relation to an investigation against the corrupt approaches by suspected bookie Deepak Aggarwal.

During the interviews Sakib was cautioned that the answers and information he would provide could be used as evidence to support a charge.

After receiving the cautionary advice, Sakib admitted various failures in reporting the approaches made to him for providing inside information by bookie Aggarwal.

In his interviews, Sakib also admitted that he was aware of his obligations under ICC’s code, including, in particular, his obligation to report to the council’s ACU any approaches or invitations he received to engage in any corrupt act in relation to cricket.

In the course of his interviews with the ACU, Sakib confirmed that in November 2017 he was a member of the Dhaka Dynamites team, which took part in the Bangladesh Premier League from November 4 to December 12.

He was also aware that his telephone number had been provided to Aggarwal by another person who was known to him.

Aggarwal had asked this unnamed person to provide him with contacts for players playing in the Bangladesh Premier League.

In mid-November of 2017, at the instigation of Aggarwal, Sakib exchanged various WhatsApp messages with Aggarwal in which Aggarwal sought to meet him.

In January 2018, he was selected into the Bangladesh team participating in the tri-series involving Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Zimbabwe.

During the series, he and Aggarwal engaged in further WhatsApp conversations.

On January 19, 2018, he received a WhatsApp message from Aggarwal congratulating him on being named man of the match in that day’s game against Sri Lanka when he made 67 runs and picked three wickets.

Aggarwal followed this message with another saying, ‘Do we work in this or I wait till the IPL?’

The reference to ‘work’ in the message was meant for Sakib to provide inside information to Aggarwal.

He did not report this communication from Aggarwal, too, to the ACU or any other anti-corruption authority.

On January 23, 2018, he received another WhatsApp message from Aggarwal in which Aggarwal made another approach to him to provide him with inside information, saying, ‘Bro, anything in this series?’

Sakib confirmed that this message concerned Aggarwal’s request to him to provide Aggarwal with inside information in relation to the ongoing tri-series.

He did not also report this request for inside information from Aggarwal to the ACU or any other anti-corruption body.

On April 26, 2018, he played for Sunrisers Hyderabad against Kings XI Punjab in the IPL.

He received a WhatsApp message from Aggarwal that day asking him whether a particular player was going to be playing in the game that day, i.e. again asking for inside information.

Aggarwal continued his communication with Sakib about bit coins, dollar accounts and sought his dollar account details. During the communication, he told Aggarwal that he wanted to meet him ‘first’.

The April 26, 2018 conversations included a number of deleted messages. Sakib confirmed that the deleted messages, too, contained requests from Aggarwal for inside information.

He stated that he had concerns about Aggarwal, feeling that he (Aggarwal) was a bit ‘dodgy’, and that, following their conversations, he had the feeling that Aggarwal was a bookie.

Sakib still did not report any of the communications and approaches from Aggarwal on April 26, 2018 to the ACU or any other anti-corruption authority.

Sakib told the ACU that he did not accept or act upon any of the approaches he received from Aggarwal and, in particular, he did not provide him with any of the information sought, nor did he accept or receive any money or other benefit from Aggarwal.

However, he did not at any time report any of the approaches to the ACU or any other relevant authority. 

The ICC suspended Sakib and revealed the details of their investigation against him at a time when he was at loggerheads with Bangladesh actuaries after leading a revolt of cricketers last week.

The Sakib-led players announced a strike last week for better pay and benefits before they called it off three days later as the authorities accepted most of their demands.

The Bangladesh Cricket Board on Saturday said that it would take legal action against the all-rounder for allegedly breaching a contract to sign a sponsorship deal with mobile phone operator Grameenphone.

The turmoil over Sakib began just before Bangladesh were scheduled to embark on their first-ever full-pledged bilateral series in India featuring three Twenty20 internationals and two Tests.

Sakib had been expected to lead the team in both the series.

The series against India will start with the first Twenty20 international in Delhi on November 3. 

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