Pakistan batsman Umar Akmal has been banned from all forms of cricket for three years for failing to report spot-fixing offers, the Pakistan Cricket Board announced on Monday.
Akmal, who turns 30 next month, pleaded guilty to not reporting the fixing offers which led to his provisional suspension on February 20 this year, where he was barred from playing in the Pakistan Super League for his franchise Quetta Gladiators.
“Umar Akmal handed a three-year ban from all cricket by Chairman of the Disciplinary Panel Mr Justice (retired) Fazal-e-Miran Chauhan,” read the tweet from PCB.
Umar Akmal handed three-year ban from all cricket by Chairman of the Disciplinary Panel Mr Justice (retired) Fazal-e-Miran Chauhan.— PCB Media (@TheRealPCBMedia) April 27, 2020
Asif Mahmood -- the PCB’s anti-corruption and security director -- said authorities took no "pleasure in seeing a promising international cricketer being declared ineligible" for three years on corruption charges, but defended the ban as necessary.
"I request all professional cricketers to stay away from the menace of corruption and immediately inform relevant authorities as soon as they are approached," Mahmood added.
The batsman has been charged for breaching Article 2.4.4 of PCB's Anti-Corruption Code, which states, “Failing to disclose to the PCB Vigilance and Security Department (without unnecessary delay) full details of any approaches or invitations received by the Participant to engage in corrupt conduct under this Anti-Corruption Code.”
Akmal had until March 31 to respond to the show-cause notice sent to him by the PCB, but he admitted the wrongdoing instead. The matter was eventually forwarded to the disciplinary committee rather than a tribunal.
It is further said that Akmal had reportedly confessed being in touch with corrupt elements. In April this year, while speaking in an interview, he had confessed, “I was once offered $200,000 for leaving two deliveries. I was also offered to skip matches against India.”
While Akmal was no doubt hoping that owning up to his mistake would take the edge off the punishment and allow him to salvage what’s left of the tail end of his career, the three-year ban has left those hopes in tatters.
Umar's ban is the latest in a series of match- or spot-fixing punishments meted out to Pakistan players.
In 2000, former captain Salim Malik was banned for life and six other players -- including greats such as Wasim Akram and Waqar Younis -- were fined after a judicial inquiry on fixing.
A decade later then-Test captain Salman Butt, Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Amir were banned for five years in a spot-fixing case over an incident during the team's tour of England.
The Pakistan Super League's second edition in 2017 was also marred by a fixing scandal, resulting in a five-year ban on Sharjeel Khan and Khalid Latif.
Feature image courtesy: AFP / Dibyangshu Sarkar