Pakistan news March 6, 2017

PCB forms tribunal in alleged PSL corruption case

File photo - Sharjeel Khan scored 1 in the opening game of this season's PSL © Getty Images

The PCB has formed a three-man tribunal to hear the cases of Sharjeel Khan and Khalid Latif, the two players provisionally suspended as part of an investigation into alleged corruption during the Pakistan Super League (PSL).

The pair responded to the official charges laid against them on Saturday, and denied some of the alleged code-of-conduct breaches they were accused of by the PCB's anti-corruption unit. The pair was provisionally suspended last month after what the board said was an organisation's attempts to corrupt the second season of the PSL.

Sharjeel and Latif, who played for Islamabad United, were handed official charge sheets of their alleged misdemeanours on February 18, and were given two weeks to respond. They were charged for breaching various articles of Clause 2 of the code of conduct, which pertains to corruption. The charges covered specific ones to attempt to corrupt a game, but also misdemeanours such as failing to disclose suspect approaches.  

Both players, it is believed, admitted to at least one of the more minor charges but denied the other more serious allegations, which prompted the PCB to appoint Justice (retired) Asghar Haider (head of the tribunal and a former legal advisor to the board), former PCB chairman Tauqir Zia, and former wicketkeeper Wasim Bari. The tribunal must have its first hearing within 90 days of the players' provisional suspensions.

The PCB's anti-corruption department believes it has built a strong case against the players, who, if found guilty, could face sanctions ranging from suspension of a few years to a lifetime ban. Had the pair admitted to all the breaches in the charge sheet, the PCB would have formed a one-man disciplinary panel to decide on an appropriate sanction on the players.

The charges emanate from the opening game of this year's PSL in Dubai. Islamabad won the game, against eventual champions Peshawar Zalmi, in which Sharjeel was dismissed for 1 off four balls and Latif did not play.

The pair, along with team-mate Mohammad Irfan, was first questioned by the PCB's anti-corruption unit right after that game. No action was taken againstIrfan, who stayed on for the team's campaign until their loss in the knockouts. In the immediate aftermath of those developments, Zulfiqar Babar from Quetta Gladiators and Shahzaib Hasan of Karachi Kings were also questioned. Both were cleared and continued to play for their respective franchises.

The investigation into the alleged attempts to corrupt the PSL also led to the arrests of former Pakistan opener Nasir Jamshed, and one other  man in the UK. Both men are currently free on bail. Jamshed was also provisionally suspended by the PCB, days after the board took the same decision against Sharjeel and Latif.

Umar Farooq is ESPNcricinfo's Pakistan correspondent