Sharjeel, Latif provisionally suspended by PCB
Islamabad United batsmen Sharjeel Khan and Khalid Latif have been provisionally suspended under the PCB's Anti-Corruption Code as part of an ongoing investigation into an organisation's alleged attempts to corrupt the 2017 Pakistan Super League. Both batsmen have been sent home and no replacements have been named yet. The PCB's investigation is being backed by the ICC's Anti-Corruption Unit.
"It would not be appropriate to comment on the specifics of the case, however this investigation is a clear demonstration of our determination to drive corruption out of our sport," Najam Sethi, chairman of the PSL, said in a statement. "We will not tolerate any form of corrupt activity and as this investigation proceeds we will not hesitate to take further decisive action as appropriate.
"The investigation of the PCB Anti-Corruption Unit backed by the ICC ACU has been effective in dealing with this case to date and we will continue to work in the closest collaboration as the investigation proceeds. We are all absolutely committed to relentlessly pursuing anyone who would seek to damage the integrity of our sport."
Later, while speaking to reporters in Dubai on the second day of the league, Sethi added: "We were wary about anything like this and that's why we were extra vigilant, and we had also beefed up our security and anti-corruption unit. We were using other resources to keep an eye on everything, and then we got evidence that some wrongdoing is underway and then we took action. We are guarding against corruption and we will be ready to take action any time, any day against anyone who is going to damage PSL."
PCB chairman Shaharyar Khan reminded players of their duties under the Anti-Corruption Code. "I must remind all players of their responsibilities in the fight against corruption," Shaharyar said. "They must understand that if they even think they may have been the subject of a suspicious approach, it is their obligation under the PCB Anti-Corruption Code to report it to an appropriate anti-corruption official as a matter of urgency. Under no circumstances will the PCB condone actions of a few individuals to bring disrepute to the game of cricket or taint the image of Pakistan."
The Islamabad franchise also issued a statement saying they would begin looking for replacements. "We are understandably disappointed at this development but emphasise on our commitment to a zero-tolerance policy towards any violations of the rules or stated guidelines," the franchise said. "We will be looking to find replacements for the squad as soon as possible."
Sharjeel played the opening match of the 2017 edition for the defending champions Islamabad on Thursday, scoring 1 against Peshawar Zalmi, while Latif was not part of the XI.
Both batsmen did well for Islamabad in the 2016 PSL, scoring more than 200 runs. While Sharjeel finished as the third-highest run-scorer overall, with 299 runs in 11 matches, Latif struck 206 runs. The pair then made their returns to the Pakistan side during the 2016 Asia Cup and the World T20 respectively.
Sharjeel has featured regularly in limited-overs matches since his comeback and recently made his Test debut against Australia in Sydney, where he scored 4 and 40. Overall, Sharjeel has played 25 ODIs and 15 T20Is since his international debut in December 2013.
Latif made a comeback in the World T20 after four years out of the side. Since his debut in 2008, Latif has played five ODIs and 13 T20Is and his most recent appearance for Pakistan came in the T20 series against West Indies in September last year.
Umar Farooq is ESPNcricinfo's Pakistan correspondent