Some Pakistan Super League (PSL) players were once again targeted in a fresh approach by a bookmaker.
The players, whose identities have not been disclosed, were approached by a bookie through social media websites, according to the board official, who added that the targeted players immediately reported the matter to the PCB.
Two bookies belonging to an international fixing syndicate attempted to approach players during the PSL third edition in Dubai via social media websites, but their nefarious designs were foiled by the PCB’s anti-corruption unit (ACU), sources close to the matter revealed.
According to evidence available with the ACU’s investigators, the bookies attempted to approach at least three players via WhatsApp and FaceTime. But their plot was thwarted when the players immediately reported the approach to the PCB.
One of the bookies is named Umar and belongs to Bangladesh, said the board sources. The other is believed to be from India.
A PCB official confirmed that he has solid evidence that the two bookies were spotted in Dubai; however, they have so far managed to stay away from the teams’ hotel.
Following the corrupt approach, the PCB’s ACU held an emergency briefing at the hotel, where the players were once again warned to stay vigilant against any attempt by bookies to taint the PSL.
According to sources, the players were also shown a photograph of one of the suspects, with instructions to immediately inform the board if the suspect was spotted anywhere near the hotel.
The bookies, according to investigation conducted by the PCB, belong to an international mafia and have been blacklisted by the International Cricket Council (ICC) as well as Test-playing countries.
Information available with the ICC and the UK’s National Crime Agency indicates that both the bookies are in Dubai at the moment.
“A couple of players were approached through social media apps but they did not respond to the bookie and reported the matter to us,” the PCB official said. “We are watching out for the culprits.”
The following of the protocol by the players suggest that the PCB’s bolstering of anti-fixing measures the past few years has finally borne fruit.
The PSL was hit by a major spot-fixing scandal last year when Sharjeel Khan, Khalid Latif and others were approached by bookies but failed to report those advances, leading to bans of varying lengths for several of them.
For the third edition of PSL currently underway in UAE, the board has cautioned cricketers to stay wary of social media. They do not have permission to undertake any private trips during the tournament, and can only travel with the rest of the team. The players are also forbidden to meet any guests in their hotel rooms, and can only meet visitors in the hotel lobby.
The owners of the PSL franchises do not have access to the players’ rooms, and are not even allowed to book rooms on the same floor as the players.
As per instructions from the ACU, players are required to inform security upon leaving the hotel, and a security official accompanies them wherever they go.
The PCB has also issued new SIM cards to the players, and the board’s anti-corruption officials constantly monitor all the data records.