Umar Akmal’s remarks on fixing approaches startle PCB, ICC

Karachi: Umar Akmal’s recent statement regarding fixing approaches has managed to startle both the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) and the International Cricket Council (ICC), with the former summoning him for an explanation and the latter launching an investigation ESPN cricinfo reported.

Akmal, who is out of favour with Pakistan coach Mickey Arthur, on Sunday told Samaa TV that he was approached by bookmakers during the 2015 World Cup to leave two balls for $200,000. That offer, he said, was just one of many he had been approached with over the years.

“I had got an offer during the World Cup to leave two balls alone and they were willing to pay me $200,000 for that,” Akmal recalled. “It was our first match against India in the 2015 World Cup… in fact, every match I play against India, they offer me money to make some excuse and opt out of the game. But I have told those people that I am very sincere about playing for Pakistan and to not talk to me on this topic ever again.”

While such an on-air confession may have gone unnoticed in the past, it can’t in present times as both the PCB and the ICC have clear legislation that make it mandatory for players to report any fixing approaches immediately. The one-year suspension handed to pacer Mohammad Irfan was a result of him not reporting an approach during Pakistan Super League 2017.

The PCB, in the light of Akmal’s comments, has served Akmal a notice and asked him to appear before its Anti-Corruption Unit.

The ICC has also taken notice of Akmal’s remarks, saying: “The ICC is aware of a recent interview given by Umar Akmal. Whilst we note that there is no suggestion that any ‘fix’ actually took place, the ICC is reliant on players to report any corrupt approaches in a timely manner. This is critical to our efforts to gather information on potential ‘fixers’ and to disrupt and prevent their efforts to corrupt the game.

“As such we are taking Akmal’s comments very seriously. We have launched an investigation and wish to speak to Mr Akmal as a matter of urgency.”

The two governing bodies statements imply that Akmal had not reported these approaches to them, which could spell trouble for him and potentially lead to a ban similar to Irfan’s.

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