Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 19 September 2019

Sharjeel Khan offers 'unconditional apology' after PCB waives suspended sentence

Disgraced former Pakistan opener was initially suspended for five years after spot-fixing

Sharjeel Khan is set to return to top-flight cricket by the end of the year after serving half of his five-year sentence for spot-fixing. AP Photo
Sharjeel Khan is set to return to top-flight cricket by the end of the year after serving half of his five-year sentence for spot-fixing. AP Photo

Disgraced former Pakistan opener Sharjeel Khan took the first step towards resurrecting his career on Monday by apologising for indulging in the spot-fixing in 2017 that earned him a five-year ban.

Sharjeel, 30, met Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) anti-corruption officials who told him to undergo a rehabilitation programme, putting him on track to return to the sport, Agence France-Presse reported.

Addressing reporters outside Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore, Sharjeel said he offered an "unconditional apology to the Pakistan Cricket Board, my teammates, fans and family for the irresponsible conduct that brought embarrassment to everyone".

"I request for forgiveness and assure I will show more responsibility in my future actions," he said.

The left-hander was a rising star and playing in the second edition of the Pakistan Super League in Dubai when he was charged with deliberately not scoring on two balls at a certain time of the match in return for money from bookmakers.

Pakistan has a long and sordid history of spot-fixing - where a specific part of a game is rigged, as opposed to match-fixing, where the whole result is.

Half of Sharjeel's ban was suspended.

The PCB said he has been given a roadmap to revive his career.

"Sharjeel has completed his two-and-a-half years of ineligibility and will now complete rehabilitation before the end of the year and then reintegrate into top-level cricket," the board said.

The rehabilitation, among other things, will also include attending and delivering lectures on the PCB Anti-Corruption Code.

Sharjeel will also have to visit orphanages as part of community service, and participate in integration sessions with Pakistan's national players and support personnel.

In his statement, Sharjeel reminded fellow players to adhere to the PCB's anti-corruption code.

"I remind all cricketers to strictly and religiously follow the PCB Anti-Corruption Code as breaching it will only earn momentary gains but the consequences will be severe and last for rest of the career," he said.

"I have agreed on the future course of action with the PCB, including helping it in its education sessions on anti-corruption. I will soon return to club cricket but will not rush into domestic cricket as I have been away for nearly 30 months and need time to reclaim my fitness and form."

Before Monday's redress, Sharjeel had maintained his innocence and denied all charges, appealing against the ban before an independent arbitrator, and then in court, only to have it rejected.

Asif Mahmood, director of the PCB's security and anti-corruption unit, said: "I hope this serves as a reminder to all those who think they can get away with violating rules as the PCB is vigilant and committed to eliminate the menace of corruption from the game."

Sharjeel has played one Test, 25 one-day internationals and 15 T20 matches.

Updated: August 20, 2019 02:24 PM

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