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Sharjeel, Latif charged for alleged corruption

Sharjeel Khan walks back for 7 AFP

Pakistan and Islamabad United batsmen Sharjeel Khan and Khalid Latif face the prospect of lengthy bans from cricket after the PCB charged them for alleged breaches of its anti-corruption code.

The pair were handed official charge sheets of their alleged misdemeanours on Saturday in Lahore, a week after they were sent home from the ongoing Pakistan Super League in the UAE.

The PCB confirmed in a statement that Sharjeel and Latif had been charged for breaching various articles under Clause 2, including specific ones to attempt to corrupt a game, as well as more general misdemeanours of failing to disclose suspect approaches.

"They have been handed notices and been advised to seek legal counsel," the PCB's legal advisor Taffazul Rizvi told ESPNcricinfo. "They have 14 days to respond."

The specific articles of the code both are alleged to have violated are: 2.1.1, 2.1.2, 2.1.3, 2.4.4 and 2.4.5. In addition, Latif is alleged to have breached 2.1.4.

How the case now proceeds will depend on the replies the players make to the charges. If, for instance, they decide to contest, then an independent tribunal will be set up to hear the arguments of both the PCB and the players. If they accept the charges, the chairman of the PCB's disciplinary panel will decide on the quantum of punishment each player receives.

Sharjeel and Latif have been in Lahore for the last three days, where they have been interviewed extensively by the PCB's Vigilance and Security department. They were handed their notices in person on Saturday.

The charges centre on the opening game of the second season of the PSL, as well as activities around it, in Dubai. Islamabad romped home to a comfortable D/L win over Peshawar Zalmi; Sharjeel was dismissed for 1 off four balls and Latif did not play the game. Both men have played international cricket for Pakistan with Sharjeel starting to become a vital cog in limited-overs cricket for his ability to attack from the outset.

The pair, along with team-mate Mohammad Irfan, were first questioned by the PCB's anti-corruption unit straight after that game. Sharjeel and Latif were sent home, but Irfan was allowed to stay on and has continued to play a part in Islamabad's campaign.

In the immediate aftermath of those developments, Zulfiqar Babar from Quetta Gladiators and Shahzaib Hasan of Karachi Kings, were also questioned. But both have been cleared and have continued to play for their franchises.

The other key figure in the investigation is another left-handed opener who has represented Pakistan - Nasir Jamshed, who was arrested in the UK by the National Crime Agency last Monday but released on bail until April. Jamshed was one of two men arrested. Prior to this, PSL chairman Najam Sethi had said on his talk show on Geo TV: "We had a lot of evidence on which we based our decision. We know what we are doing. We have all evidence. We had this for a while, we had information - we cannot talk about stuff right now but a charge sheet will be given to players soon."

With additional reporting from Osman Samiuddin