Former UAE captain Mohammad Naveed vows to fight to clear his name

Says his only mistake was not to report a corrupt approach, and he was never involved in "these things"

Mohammad Naveed will be 40 by the time his ban is due to end  •  Getty Images

Mohammad Naveed will be 40 by the time his ban is due to end  •  Getty Images

Mohammad Naveed, the former UAE captain, has declared his intention to begin a fight to restore his reputation after the ICC handed down an eight-year ban to both Naveed, 33, and his team-mate Shaiman Anwar, 42, for breaching the ICC's anti-corruption code. Naveed will be 40 by the time the ban, which is back-dated to his provisional suspension date of October 16, 2019, is due to end.
It effectively means his career as a professional cricketer is over unless the ban is overturned. Naveed took to Twitter shortly after the sentence was announced on Tuesday to swing back at the ICC for the penalty handed out to him.
"Played my Cricket with sincerity from an associate player reached rank 10 cz I always performed for my passion and respect," Naveed tweeted. "Just one mistake not reported corrupt approach but never involved in these things. Witnesses and all people from these things said m [sic] not involved.
"So my request to all. I will fight for my right and honor don't want leave Cricket with bad words. According to all things m [sic] not involved and Management asked me to accept and get 3 year ban how can banned 8 years sorry but as attack bowler will fight."
In reply to a tweet from ICC ACU coordinator of investigations Steve Richardson linking to the ICC's announcement of the eight-year ban, Naveed replied, "You have any proof against me please show." Naveed responded to Paul Radley of the National, who has worked as a beat reporter covering the UAE national team for more than a decade.
"I want open media tribunal," Naveed wrote. "If they have proof just show on media openly I am a fighter as I always bowl in pressure will face every thing. Don't want to leave my cricket with bad and dirty way. All other players in the world are getting 2 year 3 year ban after accepting everything even I havnt [sic] done bad."
Anwar also tweeted for the first time in close to a year in Tuesday night. Like Naveed, he also sought to criticize the ICC's decision despite the evidence against him.
"It's totally unfair decision we are getting punishment on those which are not happened," Anwar wrote. "As associated players imagine who can offer us a big money."
In a recent interview with ESPNcricinfo, ICC general manager of the integrity unit Alex Marshall said that Naveed and Anwar were vulnerable to corrupt influence due to a multitude of factors.
"Corruptors will look at what they believe to be the motivation of the people they are approaching," Marshall told ESPNcricinfo. "So if the corruptors think that someone's sole motivation is money, whatever country they're in is just to earn money and they have no particular allegiance and they're playing simply for money, then certainly the corruptors think that person is more susceptible than someone who is not just playing.
"Amongst the Associates, there are plenty of countries where the players are amateurs, it's costing them money to play for their country but they're doing it because they're very proud and they love the sport. If you look at it from the corruptors point of view, and I keep going back to the UAE players because there are some cases still coming through the system, it's quite clear that the corruptors felt that they were motivated by money, some of them, and they felt it was worth approaching them.
"What makes the top Associates so attractive to the corruptors is the relatively low cricket income that people from Nepal, the UAE, Oman, some of the African cricket nations…they are being paid very little if anything at all. If you look at the bottom end of the Full Members, Zimbabwe would be a good example. They are amongst the poorest of the Full Member nations and we see players there being offered $30,000 to commit corrupt conduct. We see players in the Associates getting offered $10,000. We see players in European club matches getting offered 3,000 Euros. So that's the sort of scale of the offers. $10,000 to someone in some of these places is an awful lot of money. $30,000 in Zimbabwe would probably buy you a house."
According to testimony within the ICC tribunal document, the two UAE players were offered a total of 1.6 million UAE Dirhams ($435,000), to underperform - Naveed to give away runs while bowling, Anwar to score slowly while batting - in three separate matches at the 2019 T20 World Cup Qualifier. The sum offered to them would be up to 10 times their annual earnings on a UAE central contract.
"They [corruptors] wanted to control the opening batting, the opening bowling and the captain. So that is the absolute ideal for them," Marshall told ESPNcricinfo. "The opening bats both score slowly. Those small number of corrupt bookies take unlimited bets on how many runs will be scored in the opening phase of the match or the powerplay, and they'll also take unlimited bets on the number of runs conceded by those bowlers because if they manage to corrupt the bowlers, they know they're gonna concede more than 12 or 15 runs in an over."
"If there is interest in the match, interest in the profiles of the teams, there will be a decent betting market. They then look for which of those players might be susceptible. In the UAE example, Naveed and Shaiman Anwar fit into that very well. They were late in their career. They're about to retire. They were seen as worth approaching and they were playing in matches that have got a decent profile and a reasonable betting volume."

Peter Della Penna is ESPNcricinfo's USA correspondent @PeterDellaPenna