Shakib quits MCC after ICC reveals chats with suspected Indian bookie

Shakib Al Hasan, ICC, Indian bookie, corrupt approaches, Arun Jaitley Stadium, Bangladesh tour of India, Bangladesh Cricket Board,
Shakib accepted charges of breaching the ICC Anti-Corruption Code and therefore does not have the right to appeal against the punishment, which could have been a maximum of five years. File Photo: PTI

Post suspension, for failing to report three corrupt approaches, world number one all-rounder Shakib Al Hasan stepped down from the World Cricket Committee of the MCC — the custodians of the game’s laws.

“Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) can today confirm that Al Hasan has stepped down from his involvement with the MCC World Cricket committee,” the club stated in a press release.

The 32-year-old Bangladesh Test and T20I captain, was handed a two-year ban, of which twelve months is a suspended sentence which will come to effect if Shakib fails to comply with the anti-corruption code of the International Cricket Council (ICC).

Meanwhile, Bangladesh Cricket Board chief Nazmul Hassan has claimed that the BCB had no inkling about the ICCs anti-corruption investigation of its skipper.

The shocking developments in Shakib’s ban comes ahead of the high-profile Bangladesh tour of India beginning November 3 in Arun Jaitley Stadium, New Delhi.

The suspension rules the all-rounder out of upcoming away series against India, and the IPL and the T20 World Cup next year.

Shakib accepted charges of breaching the ICC Anti-Corruption Code and therefore does not have the right to appeal against the punishment, which could have been a maximum of five years.

“We are sorry to lose Shakib from the committee, where he has made a great contribution over the last couple of years. As guardians of the Spirit of Cricket we support his resignation and believe this was the right decision,” Mike Gatting, Chairman of the World Cricket committee, said.

Also read: Shakib banned by ICC for failing to report three corrupt approaches

Shakib failed to report the approaches made by suspected bookie Deepak Aggarwal, who had asked the player to provide information on team composition and strategy on three separate occasions.

One of the approaches was made on April 26, 2018 when his IPL franchise Sunrisers Hyderabad was to take on Kings XI Punjab. Sunrisers won the game by 13 runs.

Aggarwal’s other two approaches were during the Bangladesh Premier League when Shakib was playing for Dhaka Dynamites in 2017, followed by the tri-series against Zimbabwe and Sri Lanka in January 2018. Aggarwal wanted to meet Shakib but the player didnt oblige as “…following their conversations, he had the feeling that Aggarwal was a bookie.”

Timeline of Shakib’s conversations with the bookie

Following is the timeline of the conversations between Shakib and suspected Indian bookie that was released by the International Cricket Council.

#In January 2018, he (Shakib) was selected as part of the Bangladesh team participating in a Tri-Series between Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Zimbabwe. During this series, he and Mr Aggarwal engaged in further WhatsApp conversations.

#On 19 January 2018, he received a WhatsApp message from Mr Aggarwal congratulating him for being named man of the match in that days game. Mr Aggarwal followed this message with a message saying “do we work in this or I wait till the IPL”.

#The reference to “work” in this message was a reference to him providing Inside Information to Mr Aggarwal. #He did not report this contact from Mr Aggarwal to the ACU or any other anti-corruption authority.

#On 23 January 2018, he received another WhatsApp message from Mr Aggarwal in which Mr Aggarwal made another approach to him to provide him with Inside Information, saying “Bro anything in this series?”

#He confirmed that this message related to Mr Aggarwal’s request to him to provide Mr Aggarwal with Inside Information in relation to the ongoing Tri-Series.

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#He did not report this request for Inside Information from Mr Aggarwal to the ACU or any other anti-corruption authority.

#On 26 April 2018, he played for the Sunrisers Hyderabad team in its IPL match against Kings XI Punjab.

#He received a WhatsApp message from Mr Aggarwal that day asking him whether a particular player was going to be playing in the game that day, i.e. again asking for Inside Information.

#Mr Aggarwal continued this conversation with him by talking about bitcoins, dollar accounts and asked him for his dollar account details. During this conversation, he told Mr Aggarwal that he wanted to meet him “first”.

#These messages on 26 April 2018 included a number of deleted messages. He confirmed that these deleted messages contained requests from Mr Aggarwal for Inside Information. #He confirmed that he had concerns over Mr Aggarwal, feeling he was a bit “dodgy”, and that, following their conversations, he had the feeling that Mr Aggarwal was a bookie.

#He did not report any of the contact and approaches received from Mr Aggarwal on 26 April 2018 to the ACU or any other anti-corruption authority.

#Mr Al Hasan told the ACU that he did not accept or act upon any of the approaches he received from Mr Aggarwal, in particular, he did not provide him with any of the information requested, nor did he accept or receive any money or other reward from Mr Aggarwal.

However, he did not at any time report any of the approaches to the ACU or any other relevant authority.

Also read: India to play maiden Day-Night Test on Nov 22 in Eden gardens

Shakib’s ban rather shocking for selectors

With this revelation, former Bangladesh captain and national selector Habibul Bashar is shocked that a “mature” man like Shakib didn’t report corrupt approaches to the ICC and believes it would be tough, if not impossible, for the banned all-rounder to regain his peak position.

“It is a tough ask. Shakib will be out of cricket for a year, which will be mentally tough for him…After one year, to first make a comeback and then strive to reach where you were before the ban is a tall order but not impossible,” Bashar told PTI in an interview.

“Because the name of the player is Shakib, I have faith in his ability and talent. There have been spells of injuries, where has been out for three to six months. “I have seen him make comebacks from rehabilitation and then very quickly get back into the groove…He is a seasoned player and there’s no reason that he can’t do it again,” he added.

For now, Bashar is yet to get over the shock of Shakib not reporting the corrupt approaches to the ICCs anti-corruption unit. “It is shocking for me. But I will take solace from the fact that having known Shakib for long, I knew he would never indulge in any corrupt practice. That he has not been indicted by the ICC on corruption charges is a big relief as far as I am concerned,” Bashar, one of Shakib’s earliest captains, told PTI during an interaction.

“But yeah, I am also surprised like anyone as to why a mature boy like Shakib didn’t report the matter to the ICCs anti-corruption unit,” Bashar, who played 50 Tests and 111 ODIs, for his country said.

Bashar admitted that it’s a “huge blow” to Bangladesh cricket but at the same time the country has no option but to move on. “It is undoubtedly a big blow for Bangladesh cricket. A player of Shakib’s calibre won’t be available for a year.

“It’s a huge setback but we need to move on from this and emerge stronger as a team,” the 47-year-old said. Bashar said the focus should now be on the India series, which begins November 3, and the country’s cricket fraternity should not fret too much over the Shakib suspension.

Also read: Shakib misses practice on ICC orders, faces ban ahead of India tour

“It’s not that we have not played without Shakib in the past. We have played and also won matches in his absence. Obviously, we will miss him but we have got to do with the resources that we have,” Bashar said.

“Those who would be playing need to put their hands up and take extra responsibility. Our focus shouldn’t waiver as everything from now, planning, strategy, execution should only be around this series,” said the man, who led Bangladesh to a famous World Cup victory over India at the Port of Spain during the 2007 edition.

Lessons learned

However, former England captain Michael Vaughan demanded a harsher ban while Australia’s Dean Jones wondered why Bangladesh all-rounder did not report the corrupt approaches made to him at a time when “players are well aware of the rules”.

“No sympathy what’s so ever for Shakib Al Hasan … Non what’s so ever … In this era the players get briefed all the time about what they can & can’t do and what that have to report straight away … 2 yrs isn’t enough … Should have been longer …,” tweeted Vaughan.

“For all you abusing I have zero tolerance for corruption .. It doesn’t matter what team you play for .. Players these days know exactly what they can and can’t do .. also know they have to report anything .. if they don’t they know the consequences,” he added.

Former Pakistan captain Rameez Raja said Shakib’s actions and the fallout of those are a classic example of none being bigger than the game. Shakib is currently the worlds number one ODI all-rounder.

“So Shakib Al Hasan’s ban has a lesson for all sports lovers and sportsmen: if you disregard the game and try to become bigger than the game by side-tracking the laid rules and protocols then be ready for a fantastic fall! Sad,” wrote Raja.

Also read: BCB may take legal action against Shakib ahead of India tour

Former Australia batsman Jones also could not comprehend why Shakib did not report the approaches. “How many times are these guys lectured? Before EVERY T20 and T10 and other Tournaments… The ICC and ACU officials brief them…#deafears,” he wrote.

The BCB has preferred 28-year-old Mominul Haque for Test captaincy and chief selector Bashar feels it is the right move as he was being groomed for the top job for the past two years.

“There has been a lot of thought that had gone into making Mominul the captain. He was being groomed by the BCB to take over Test captaincy in near future. Players like Shakib, (Mahmudullah) Riyad will be playing for a few more years but as far as captaincy is concerned, we need to look at future options. Mominul has been the Bangladesh A team captain for the last two years and he is someone we have all seen, can keep his calm under pressure. He can handle pressure. So he is the best bet as far as Bangladesh is concerned,” he concluded.

Bangladesh’s series against India starts with the T20 Internationals, from November 3, followed by the Test series, which will also include the two team’s maiden day-night game starting November 22 in the longest format.

(With inputs from agencies)