Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo's Bangladesh correspondent and Nagraj Gollapudi is News Editor
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Mohammad Isam and Nagraj Gollapudi
Shakib Al Hasan, Bangladesh's Test and T20I captain, has been banned by the ICC from all cricket for two years, with one year of that sentence suspended, after he accepted three charges of breaching the ICC anti-corruption code.
Shakib, 32, is Bangladesh's leading current cricketer and among their all-time greats. He is currently at No. 3, No. 1 and No. 2 in the ICC allrounders' rankings for Tests, ODIs and T20Is respectively, and is also a valuable member of the various T20 franchises he is part of across the world.
He will be free to resume international cricket on October 29, 2020, subject to his satisfying the conditions in respect of the suspended part of the sanction. He is likely to miss most - or all - of next year's headline event, the World T20 in Australia, which runs from October 18 to November 15.
The ICC charged Shakib under Article 2.4.4, for failure to report two approaches to engage in corrupt conduct during the tri-series and for failure to disclose full details of any approaches or invitations he received to engage in corrupt conduct in relation to the Sunrisers Hyderabad v Kings XI Punjab match in IPL 2018 on April 26, 2018.
In order to avoid the one-year suspended sentence coming into effect, Shakib must not commit any offence under the ACU code during the initial one-year suspension, and participate regularly in anti-corruption education and/or rehabilitation programmes.
The ICC's case revolved around a series of messages exchanged between Shakib and the alleged corruptor Deepak Aggarwal, and Shakib's failure to report "not one but three approaches" - as the ICC put it - by him. Those approaches, and Shakib's failures to report, occurred over a period of several months.
The approaches made to Shakib were "clear in their content and intent", the ICC said; it was clear to Shakib that Aggarwal's intention was to obtain inside information to use for betting purposes. It also noted that Shakib was an experienced international cricketer fully aware of his responsibilities under the ICC's code of conduct and, additionally, he was captain of his national side.
The ICC said that Shakib had accepted the charges and agreed to the sanction in lieu of an anti-corruption tribunal hearing.
"I am obviously extremely sad to have been banned from the game I love, but I completely accept my sanction for not reporting the approaches," an ICC statement quoted him as saying. "The ICC ACU is reliant on players to play a central part in the fight against corruption and I didn't do my duty in this instance."
Alex Marshall, ICC's general manager - integrity, said, "Shakib Al Hasan is a highly experienced international cricketer. He has attended many education sessions and knows his obligations under the Code. He should have reported each of these approaches. Shakib has accepted his errors and cooperated fully with the investigation."
BCB President Nazmul Hassan said Shakib first told him about the case two or three days ago, after the players' strike was withdrawn, and informed the board about the punishment this evening.
The board, he said, was "shocked and extremely disappointed that an experienced player like Shakib" had failed to report corrupt approach on three occasions. "We hope he will come back as a better and wiser cricketer and serve Bangladesh for many more years" when his sanction ends.
"I also want to make it clear that BCB had nothing to do with it, neither did any of us know. The ACSU, which did this investigation since January, was done independently of the ICC. We only knew that they contacted Shakib, so we just heard the verdict."
The Shakib development has come at a time of huge upheaval in the BCB. Only a week ago, Shakib had led a players' strike in Bangladesh, which came to an end last Wednesday after the BCB ceded to all the demands.
The news also comes on the eve of Bangladesh's tour of India, which starts on November 3. Shakib was meant to leave with the Bangladesh T20I squad on Wednesday for the tour, which comprises three T20Is and two Test matches.