Sharjeel appeal against spot-fixing ban rejected

Pakistan’s Sharjeel Khan in action. (Action Images via Reuters)
Updated 09 November 2017
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Sharjeel appeal against spot-fixing ban rejected

LAHORE: An appeal by fast-rising Pakistan opener Sharjeel Khan against a five-year ban over spot-fixing was rejected this week with his lawyer Thursday vowing to challenge the decision in a higher court.
Sharjeel, 28, was banned for five years, two-and-a-half of them suspended, in August following an investigation by a three-member Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) tribunal.
The scandal surfaced during the second edition of the Pakistan Super League in February this year. The league was held in the United Arab Emirates with the final staged in Lahore.
One-man adjudicator Justice Faqir Khokhar upheld the ban late Wednesday and also rejected the PCB’s appeal to increase the punishment, which can range from five years to a life ban according to the anti-corruption code.
“The decision is disappointing and we will definitely go to the high court after knowing on what grounds our appeal was rejected,” Sharjeel’s lawyer Shaigan Ijaz told AFP.
“The PCB has not been able to prove the spot-fixing and that has halted a promising career.”
At the time of the ban, Sharjeel had played one Test, 25 one-day internationals and 15 Twenty20s for Pakistan. He was also contracted by English county Leicestershire and was in line for getting more contracts in Twenty20 leagues around the world.
Sharjeel was charged with deliberately playing two dot balls — deliveries off which no run is scored — in his team Islamabad United’s opening match against Peshawar Zalmi in Dubai.
Spot-fixing involves determining the outcome of a specific part of a match rather than the overall result, and is, therefore, harder to detect than match-fixing.
His fellow opener Khalid Latif was banned for five years and fined one million rupees (10,000 dollars) for orchestrating the deal with a bookie.
Paceman Mohammad Irfan and spinner Mohammad Nawaz were banned for one year and two months respectively over not reporting fixing offers.
Two other players — Shahzaib Hasan and Nasir Jamshed — are also under investigation by the tribunal.
The latest hearing in that case was due to wrap up later Thursday.


Saudi Arabia’s Young Falcons through to Asian Games knockout stages despite 3-0 defeat to North Korea

Updated 20 August 2018
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Saudi Arabia’s Young Falcons through to Asian Games knockout stages despite 3-0 defeat to North Korea

  • Young Falcons have wings clipped but still fly into second round after heavy defeat.
  • Saudi Arabia qualify as one of the best third-placed teams.

JAKARTA: From flying high to almost flying home, Saudi Arabia’s Young Falcons came within a goal of going from group leaders to bottom of the table after losing 3-0 to North Korea in their final Group F match at the Asian Games. They ultimately squeaked through as one of the best third-placed teams.
Arriving full of confidence and with one foot already in the knockout stages, coach Saad Al-Shehri rested seven of the 11 players who started the win against Myanmar on Friday. That meant a much-changed back five, with Al-Ittihad’s Amin Al-Bukhari in goal and Al-Ahli duo Mohammed Al-Zubaidi and Mohammed Al-Bassas, both making their Asian Games debuts alongside ever-presents Abdullah Tarmin and Awn Al-Saluli.
The rejig, however, backfired as, inside two minutes and with their first effort on goal, North Korea were ahead. A corner from Kwang-myong Jo was met by the head of Yong-il Kim who directed it past Al-Bukhari with ease while his defenders looked on in confusion; the marking as tight as a wizard’s sleeve.
The Young Falcons had arrived at the Wibawa Mukti Stadium top of Group F and virtually assured of a place in the Round of 16, yet the strike shifted everything. Suddenly, a three-goal Myanmar win against Iran would put the Saudi Arabia’s place in the knockout stages in serious jeopardy. 
The players seemed to understand the consequences of conceding that early goal as nerves took hold. Al-Bukhari, the debutant goalkeeper, allowed a pass to run under his foot, scrambling back desperately to avoid further embarrassment, while loose balls were hoofed clear in panic. Al-Shehri crouched on the sideline, as motionless as his midfield.
North Korea, well-beaten by the Iranians three days earlier, looked more dynamic and determined, pressing intensely and holding back nothing in their tackles. Saudi Arabia, in contrast, were meek. In the 25th minute, they fell further behind. Woeful defending allowed Korea a free shot at goal from close range and Al-Bukhari’s parried save was turned into the net by striker Yu-song Kim.
Al-Shehri refrained from making changes at half-time, yet his side did not improve. Just six minutes after the restart, and again from a corner, Korea notched their third. At 1.94m, Ittihad’s Awn Al-Saluli was the tallest outfield player by some distance, yet he was slow to react when Yu-song Kim squeezed in front of him to header home his second goal of the afternoon.
The rushed introduction of Nawaf Al-Habasi and Haroune Camara gave the Young Falcons more of a physical presence and Abdulrahman Ghareeb saw his shot tipped around the post, but it was Korea who came closest to the game’s fourth. Al-Zubaidi was dispossessed while playing out from the back and raced back to make a last-ditch tackle, winning the ball cleanly. Tajikstani referee Nasrullo Kabirov, however, deemed it a foul and produced a red card only to change his mind after speaking with his fourth official.
With news filtering through that Myanmar were beating Iran 2-0 and chasing a third, Saudi pushed forward seeking a lifeline. It was not to arrive, but neither was Myanmar’s, allowing the Young Falcons, wings clipped, to stumble through to the knock-out stages.