Having failed to report multiple bookie approaches, Bangladesh skipper Shakib Al Hasan has been banned. He was banned by cricket’s highest governing body the International Cricket Council (ICC) for two years, with one year suspended.
Shakib Al Hasan chose to admit charges against him under the provisions dictated by the ICC code. He also agreed to the sanction with the ICC instead of an Anti-Corruption Tribunal hearing. He will only be free to resume international cricket on October 29, 2020, if he satisfies the conditions concerning the suspended part of the sanction.
The Anti-Corruption Unit conducted exclusive interviews with the all-rounder- first on January 23, 2019, and then on August 27, 2019, about an ongoing investigation into possible corrupt conduct under the ICC code due to his involvement with an individual named Deepak Aggarwal.
The ICC’s investigation committee brought certain incidents to light after interviews with Shakib:
• In November 2017, during the Bangladesh Premier League, a friend of Shakib had provided his contact to Aggarwal which Shakib was aware of.
• During the same month, instigated by Aggarwal, Shakib Al Hasan exchanged various texts with him on WhatsApp during which Aggarwal tried to set up a meeting with him.
• In an ODI tri-series involving Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, and Zimbabwe, Shakib and Aggarwal engaged in more conversations. Aggarwal congratulated him on the series and followed it up with a text that said, ‘Do we work in this or I wait till the IPL’
• The ‘work’ here referred to Shakib providing inside information to Deepak Aggarwal.
• Shakib failed to report to the ACU or any other anti-corruption authority.
• On January 23, 2018, Shakib received another WhatsApp message from Aggarwal in which the latter made another approach to him to provide inside information, saying “Bro anything in this series?” Shakib confirmed that this message was related to Aggarwal requesting inside information with the ongoing Tri-Series, which he did not report to the ACU or any other anti-corruption authority.
• On April 26, 2018, Shakib played in the IPL game between Sunrisers Hyderabad and Kings XI Punjab. 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 this conversation with him by talking about bitcoins, dollar accounts and asked Shakib for his dollar account details. During this conversation, Shakib told Aggarwal that he wanted to meet him “first”.
• messages on April 26, 2018, included many deleted messages. He confirmed that these deleted messages contained requests from Aggarwal for inside information.
• Shakib told the ICC that he had concerns over Aggarwal, feeling he was a bit “dodgy”, and that, following their conversations, he had the feeling that Aggarwal was a bookie. He did not report any of the contacts and approaches received from Aggarwal on April 26, 2018, to the ACU or any other anti-corruption authority.
Responding to the turn of events, Shakib said: “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. The ICC ACU is reliant on players to play a central part in the fight against corruption and I didn’t do my duty in this instance.
“Like the majority of players and fans around the world, I want cricket to be a corruption-free sport and I am looking forward to working with the ICC ACU team to support their education program and ensure young players don’t make the same mistake I did,” he added.
“The way the Bangladesh Cricket board, fans, government, and media got behind me is amazing,” he said. “If the fans, BCB continue to lend their support to me, I will come back strongly in cricket when the ban ends.
Alex Marshall, ICC General Manager – Integrity said: “Shakib Al Hasan is a highly experienced international cricketer. He has attended many education sessions and knows his obligations under the Code. He should have reported each of these approaches.
“Shakib has accepted his errors and cooperated fully with the investigation. He has offered to assist the Integrity Unit in future education, to help younger players to learn from his mistakes. I am happy to accept this offer.”
Meanwhile, BCB President Nazmul Hassan said the board was extremely disappointed that the seasoned campaigner didn’t report the approaches made by the bookie. He also hoped that Shakib will return to the set-up and serve the country for many more years.
“While the BCB is shocked and extremely disappointed that an experienced player like Shakib had failed to report corrupt approach on three occasions, at the same time we are pleased that he has cooperated fully with the ICC ACU and has pledged his commitment to its education program.
“I am angry at the same time because he did not inform. Here we need to be very clear that BCB knew nothing… ACSU interacted with only Shakib. ACSU is a separate unit. We came to know just the results. Shakib told me first, 2-3 days back when the strike was withdrawn. We did not know how long he would be banned, Shakib informed us. Shakib is the one who informed us first.
“We all need to be with Shakib. He does not need to be sad. The declaration he gave to work with anti-corruption, he should continue that. We will stay with him. He will get all the support. I hope he will return soon and take our cricket to another level.”
“We hope he will come back as a better and wiser cricketer. Also, serve Bangladesh for many more years when his sanction will be over. During the suspension, the BCB will continue to support his efforts at returning to cricket. The BCB respects the ICC’s decision and shares similar sentiments against corruption in cricket.”
In light of this, Shakib will miss the tour against India. The BCB is looking at a rejuvenated squad to send to their neighboring country.
”We will announce the T20 team tomorrow [October 29] at noon and also need some more time to announce our Test team after two to three days,” Akram Khan, BCB’s cricket operations chairman, said.