Pakistan's Jamshed Pleads Guilty to Bribery
Former Pakistan batsman Nasir Jamshed has plead guilty to bribing other cricketers at the 2016 Pakistan Super League. Jamshed had initially plead not guilty to the charges, but changed his plea after his two co-defendants, Yousef Anwar and Mohammed Ijaz, admitted that they had offered money to players during the tournament in exchange for under-performance. The current trial, which is being held at Manchester Crown Court, comes 16 months after Jamshed was banned by the Pakistan Cricket Board for ten years for his role in the match-fixing.
The incidents in question involve a number of games across both the 2016 Bangladesh Premier League as well as the Pakistan Super League in the same year. Initially, it is believed that Jamshed was intended to be the fixer in the BPL games, but on two occasions this didn't come to fruition. In the first of these matches, Jamshed didn't use a coloured batting grip which he was supposed to employ as a signal that the fix was going ahead, while on the second occasion he was dropped and subsequently unable to go ahead with the fixing. Then, in February of 2016 in a PSL game between Islamabad United and Peshawar Zalmi, Jamshed committed the bribery when he convinced former teammate Sharjeel Khan to play out the opening two balls of the second over as dots.
The fixing was uncovered when an undercover agent infiltrated the network by pretending to be a member of a corrupt betting syndicate. He was ultimately able to organise a meeting with Anwar, one of Jamshed's co-defendants, in late 2016, where the accused claimed to have six players working for him in the BPL.
Jamshed, an aggressive left-handed opening batsman, had a reasonable career both internationally and at a domestic level. He managed just two Tests and 51 runs for the national Test team, but enjoyed more success in the shorter forms of the game, playing 48 ODI's and 18 T20I's. His performances in these games weren't sufficient to warrant a long term international career, but at the domestic level he played 146 List A games, averaging 32.46 at a strike rate of just under 85 and scoring nine centuries. He also played 111 T20s, averaging 24.55 at a strike rate of 122.71. It wasn't a brilliant career but it was a decent enough one, and it will end prematurely as a result of the decisions Jamshed made a little under four years ago.
Jamshed's involvement in match-fixing continues what has been a difficult few years for cricket as the depth of corruption in the sport, particularly in various domestic T20 leagues around the world, has become more evident. This has seen a number of players and administrators have their careers either ended or significantly shortened, as well as names tarnished. The way in which players and administrators have been involved has been varied, from blatant cases of match-fixing such as this one to more complicated cases such as that involving former Sri Lankan opener Sanath Jayasuriya, while most recently Bangladesh captain and one of the game's best all-rounders in Shakib al-Hasan was banned for two years as a result of a failure to report a corrupt approach.
The level of scrutiny which now surrounds this dark aspect of the game is as high as it has ever been, and players are better educated on their obligations as a result. Given the depth and complexity of how corruption has influenced the sport, it will likely take years to entirely eradicate it, if indeed it ever reaches that point, and the continuing number of domestic leagues popping up combined with the popularity of gambling on it mean it is probably easier than ever to fix matches. However, with each case which is uncovered there is the hope that players will become increasingly cogniscent of their responsibilities, and that anyone who is the subject of a corrupt approach is equipped to deal with it and understands the probability of being caught and ramifications if they are.