British police make two arrests in Pakistan fixing probe


British police said Tuesday they had made two arrests in connection with bribery offences as part of an investigation into international cricket match spot-fixing.

A statement issued by Britain’s National Crime Agency said “two men in their thirties” were arrested on Monday and had been released on bail until April 2017 pending further enquiries.

Amid a corruption probe involving players in the Pakistan Super League, the NCA statement added: “We are working closely with the Pakistan Cricket Board and International Cricket Council’s anti-corruption units.

“The Pakistan Cricket Board has launched its own investigation which has resulted in the suspension of three players.”

The three suspended players — Sharjeel Khan, Khalid Latif and Nasir Jamshed — have all represented Pakistan in international cricket.

Sharjeel and Latif have been suspended by the Pakistan Cricket Board from the ongoing Pakistan Super League domestic Twenty20 tournament in the United Arab Emirates following accusations they met a suspicious person linked to an international betting syndicate.

Jamshed, who made the last of 68 appearances for Pakistan across all three formats nearly two years ago, is not taking part in the PSL.

Nevertheless, the PCB said Monday he had been provisionally suspended from all forms of cricket for “violating its anti-corruption code”.

The PSL, a five-team tournament, is largely being played in the UAE because of security concerns although Lahore is the scheduled venue for next month’s final.

Sharjeel and Latif, playing for Islamabad United in the PSL, were sent home last week following what the PCB said was an “an ongoing investigation into an international syndicate which is believed to be attempting to corrupt the Pakistan Super League.”

Monday saw PCB chief Shaharyar Khan vow officials would seek a “deterrent” punishment if Sharjeel and Latif, were found guilty of spot-fixing.

The PCB would take a strong stand so that players no longer think “they can do something and play after four or five years, so that no one dares to do it again”, he told media in Dubai.

Sharjeel has a contract with English county side Leicestershire to play in the domestic Twenty20 Blast tournament later this year. 

A spokesman told AFP on Friday that the club would be making no comment on the investigation or the status of Sharjeel’s contract.

Sharjeel, 27 and Latif, 31, shared a blistering century opening partnership during Pakistan’s crushing nine-wicket victory over England in a lone Twenty20 international at Old Trafford in September  

Pakistan faced criticism for allowing Mohammed Amir to return to international cricket after he, together with team-mates Salman Butt and Mohammed Asif, was involved in a spot-fixing scandal during a 2010 Lord’s Test against England that saw the trio jailed and given five-year bans from the sport.