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Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 18 October 2018

No corruption in Afghanistan Premier League, organisers predict

Director Basheer Stanikzai says they are doing everything they can to protect tournament, to be held next month

“What we saw today was the real Shahzad,” captain Asghar Afghan said of Mohammed Shahzad’s century against India for Afghanistan. “Unfortunately it came in the last match.” It was worth the wait. Shahzad was brutal from one end, while at the other, Afghanistan’s batsmen were bewitched by India’s thrifty bowlers. Shahzad celebrated it with arms spread wide and a slight backward lean, like a shorter, rounder Dhawan. AFP
“What we saw today was the real Shahzad,” captain Asghar Afghan said of Mohammed Shahzad’s century against India for Afghanistan. “Unfortunately it came in the last match.” It was worth the wait. Shahzad was brutal from one end, while at the other, Afghanistan’s batsmen were bewitched by India’s thrifty bowlers. Shahzad celebrated it with arms spread wide and a slight backward lean, like a shorter, rounder Dhawan. AFP

Organisers of next month’s Afghanistan Premier League in Sharjah are confident the event will be free from corruption.

Mohammed Shahzad, the Afghan wicketkeeper-batsman, was reportedly the subject of an approach to spot-fix ahead of the competition, during the ongoing Asia Cup.

Afghanistan Cricket Board officials commended Shahzad for reporting the incident immediately to the team’s management, who in turn informed the ICC.

“He was suspicious. It wasn’t actually a corrupt approach, but he felt he should report it,” Basheer Stanikzai, the APL tournament director, said.

“Nothing will happen at the Premier League. If [the players] are suspicious, they are right to report anything. It wasn’t that serious, but we told him to report this.

“I can give you one example from the past. A guy asked me what will happen tomorrow in the game.

"It was a similar type of thing. When they investigated, there was nothing about it. This was a similar type of thing.”

On Monday, Alex Marshall, the head of the ICC’s anti-corruption unit, had said five international captains have been approached to spot-fix over the past 12 months.

“There have been 32 investigations in the last 12 months, eight involve players as suspects,” Marshall said at the ICC's offices in Dubai Sports City.

“Five of them involve administrators or non-playing personnel. Three of these individuals have been charged. Five internationals captains have also reported receiving approaches to spot-fix.”

Stanikzai said the APL organisers are doing everything they can to protect the tournament from corruption.

“It is not about Sharjah, it is wherever we play we take care of that,” Stanikzai said.

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“We are fortunate for this tournament we have the services of ICC’s anti-corruption unit.

“They are handling it, along with our anti-corruption officers. Even when we do our own leagues back at home, we follow those protocols.”

The new, five-team competition starts on October 5 at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium.

Shahzad, who was clearly unaffected by the incident as he scored a fine century against India on Tuesday, will play for Pakhtia Panthers, alongside the likes of Shahid Afridi and Thisara Perera.

The tournament will involve one UAE player, Mohammed Naveed, the fast bowler, who will play for Kandahar Knights.