Pakistan's spot-fixing trial against five begins
A Pakistan tribunal Monday started hearings into spot-fixing charges against five players who could face life bans if found guilty.
The tribunal convened by the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) is headed by Justice Asghar Haider. Former Pakistan captain Wasim Bari and ex-PCB chairman Tauqir Zia are also members.
Prosecutors played a tape in which opening batsman Sharjeel Khan admitted having met a bookmaker but denied any wrongdoing.
Sharjeel is one of five players provisionally suspended in the case, which surfaced during the second edition of the Pakistan Super League (PSL) tournament staged in the United Arab Emirates in February.
He was present during the hearing.
Khalid Latif, Shahzaib Hasan and Nasir Jamshed are also facing charges punishable by a minimum five-year ban and a maximum suspension for life.
In March fast bowler Mohammad Irfan had admitted failing to report an approach to fix a match and was banned for six months, with six more suspended. He was also fined one million rupees (10,000 dollars).
Another player, Mohammad Nawaz, was also summoned by PCB anti-corruption unit in the spot fixing case but has not yet been charged.
Once charged his case would also be submitted before tribunal.
PCB lawyer Taffazul Rizvi said Sharjeel had admitted meeting a bookie along with Khalid.
"He also accepted that man was linked to fixing and that whatever was decided in that meeting panned out in the agreed manner," Rizvi told reporters.
But Sharjeel in the recorded statement said the fact that he played two dot (non-scoring) balls at a particular point in a game was not linked to spot-fixing.
Spot-fixing involves determining the outcome of a specific part of a match, rather than fixing the result. It can centre on something as minor as the number of wides or dot balls at any particular time.
The match in question was Islamabad United's first in the PSL, in which Sharjeel played two dot balls and scored one run.
The PCB's anti-corruption unit believes Sharjeel took money to play the dot balls.
Witnesses are due to give evidence to the tribunal on Tuesday.
Sharjeel's lawyer Shaigan Ijaz said his client expects a favourable result.
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