"Do we work in this or I wait til the IPL" - Bookie to Shakib Al Hasan.
Failure to report several approaches from Deepak Aggarwal, an alleged corruptor who was seeking inside information, is why Shakib, Bangladesh's Test and T20I captain, was banned by the ICC's anti-corruption unit on Tuesday.
We don't know yet why Shakib, the game's premier allrounder (he is ranked third in Tests, first in ODIs and second in T20Is in the ICC's player rankings), failed to report the approaches to the ACU, especially as he has previously reported corrupt approaches. But we do know a little about the conversations with Aggarwal that led to this sanction.
According to information made public by the ICC, the first time Aggarwal got in touch with Shakib was in November 2017 during the Bangladesh Premier League (BPL), where he was playing for Dhaka Dynamites. Shakib's contact, the ICC said, was provided to Aggarwal by "another person" who was close to the player. Aggarwal had asked this unnamed person to "provide" him with contacts for players in the tournament.
Over the course of several WhatsApp messages, Aggarwal tried to arrange a meeting with Shakib.
Bangladesh hosted an ODI tri-series with Sri Lanka and Zimbabwe. On January 19, Bangladesh beat Sri Lanka and Shakib was Man of the Match. Aggarwal "congratulated" Shakib on his performance and then followed it with a cryptic message that raised eyebrows at the ACU. "Mr Aggarwal followed this message with a message saying "do we work in this or I wait til the IPL"," the ICC said in a statement. "The reference to "work" in this message was a reference to him [Shakib] providing Inside Information to Mr Aggarwal."
Shakib didn't report this approach either to the ACU, or to any other relevant authority.
Four days later, Aggarwal sent another message, a more explicit one, to Shakib: "Bro anything in this series?" Once again, Shakib opted not to report the approach to the ACU or even the BCB.
On April 26, during IPL 2018, Sunrisers Hyderabad - Shakib's franchise - were playing a home match against Kings XI Punjab. Aggarwal messaged Shakib on the day of the match, and it was during this conversation that Shakib eventually said he wanted to meet Aggarwal.
"He received a WhatsApp message from Mr Aggarwal that day asking him whether a particular player was going to be playing in the game that day, i.e. again asking for Inside Information," the ICC statement said. "Mr Aggarwal continued this conversation with him by talking about bitcoins, dollar accounts and asked him for his dollar account details. During this conversation, he told Mr Aggarwal that he wanted to meet him "first"."
Shakib admitted to the ACU later that he had deleted several other messages from this April 26 WhatsApp conversation. It was then that Shakib grew concerned. However, once again, he did not report the approach.
"He confirmed that he had concerns over Mr Aggarwal, feeling he was a bit "dodgy", and that, following their conversations, he had the feeling that Mr Aggarwal was a bookie," the ICC statement said.
The ACU officers interviewed Shakib in person in Bangladesh twice this year - on January 23 and then on August 27.
Shakib readily accepted the charges.
"During these interviews, Mr Al Hasan was cautioned that the answers and information provided by him could be used as evidence to support a charge or charges in relation to a breach of the Code, if they revealed that Mr Al Hasan might have breached the Code, either by acting corruptly himself or by failing to report corrupt approaches or corrupt actions by others. After receiving these cautions, Mr Al Hasan admitted various failures to report approaches made to him to provide Inside Information to Mr Aggarwal."
Nagraj Gollapudi is news editor at ESPNcricinfo