Afghanistan wicketkeeper-batsman Shafiqullah Shafaq was handed a six-year ban by Afghanistan Cricket Board (ACB) on Sunday after he accepted four charges of breaching their anti-corruption code. Shafiqullah Shafaq accepted the charges which relate to the first edition of the Afghanistan Premier League T20 (APL T20) in 2018 when he played for Nangarhar Leopards in 2018 and the 2019 edition of the Bangladesh Premier League (BPL) while he was representing Sylhet Thunder.
Shafiqullah Shafaq was a part of the Afghanistan team that led the country to ODI status. Shafiqullah Shafaq also played two T20 World Cups. However, Shafiqullah Shafaq had fallen out of favour in recent months as he had not represented Afghanistan since September 2019. Overall, Shafiqullah Shafaq played 24 ODIs and 46 T20Is for Afghanistan between 2009 and 2019.
The Afghanistan Cricket Board's senior anti-corruption manager Sayed Anwar Shah Quraishi said that the ban was a warning for all players. He added that this is a very serious offence where a senior national player is involved in the corruption of a high-profile domestic game in the 2018 APL. He further said that the player had also attempted but failed to get one of his team-mates to engage in corruption in another high-profile game during the BPL.
Quraishi also said that it is an alert for all those players who think their illegal activities concerning the game of cricket will not be disclosed to the ACB and added that their coverage is vaster than what is perceived. Quraishi went on to say that Shafiqullah Shafaq's admission of guilt and cooperation helped him avoid a longer ban. Shafaq will work with the ACB’s integrity education programmes to help younger players. It will be interesting to see the Afghanistan player's reaction to the same, being aged 30, as this decision would potentially end his career.
The report of Shafaq getting banned comes days after Pakistan batsman Umar Akmal being found guilty of two charges under the PCB Anti-Corruption Code, leaving him ineligible for all cricket related ventures till February 19, 2023. Justice (retired) Fazal-e-Miran Chauhan, chairman of the PCB's disciplinary panel, said that the batsman wasn't prepared to show any remorse and did not seek an apology after the pronouncement of the Umar Akmal ban. Chauhan, in the statement, added that Akmal tried to take refuge behind the fact that he had reported previous approaches made.
The PCB announced the Umar Akmal ban on the eve of the now-suspended Pakistan Super League, with two breaches of Article 2.4.4 of the PCB Anti-Corruption Code in two separate incidents on March 17.