Former Pakistan international cricketer Nasir Jamshed has been sentenced to 17-months imprisonment on charges of spot-fixing by a court in London. Two other accomplices of Jamshed received prison sentences of varying durations at the Manchester Crown Court. They were all found of approaching cricketers with offers of bribe for spot fixing.
Jamshed, who made his debut in 2008 but found a regular place in the ODI team in 2012, was regarded as a highly-talented batsman with a bright future. His finest moment came when he starred in Pakistan team's victory over India in a 3-match ODI series played in January 2013. He scored back to back hundreds in the first two matches of the series, both won by Pakistan.
However, he could not maintain his form and was out of the team some time later. It was during the Bangladesh Premier League's 2016 edition that he, along with the two other men found guilty of this disgraceful act, approached cricketers to get them involved in fixing activities. Those men, Yousaf Anwar and Mohammad Ijaz, are British nationals and have received 40 and 18 months of imprisonment respectively.
The conspiracy that these man were involved in was discovered by National Crime Agency (NCA) through an extensive investigation, mostly carried out underground. They found the three men involved in a complex system of spot-fixing during the 2016 Bangladesh Premier League. Then, the trio decided to indulge in the same type of activities during the 2017 season of Pakistan Super League.
They got two other cricketers – Khalid Latif and Sharjeel Khan – also involved in this venture. In a match played on February 9, 2017 in Dubai, between Peshawar Zalmi and Islamabad United, Khan batted as per the instructions given to him. This was the clinching evidence needed and four days later, Jamshed was apprehended by the police in England. Ijaz's arrest came soon after.
When the whole matter became known to Pakistan Cricket Board, they suspended all the three players whose names came up along with another one, Mohammad Irfan. The matter then went to the courts and all three accused pleaded guilty to the various charges including bribery.
The judge who delivered the verdict pointed out how these people had hurt the credibility of their sport and also how this menace of fixing has been rapidly spreading.
"Corruption of this kind has sadly been taking place in the game of cricket for a very long time. If anything it has become worse due to the proliferation in the last decade of hugely popular televised international T20 tournaments in all the major cricketing nations.
"...What makes cricket, and specifically these T20 tournaments in Bangledesh, Pakistan and India, so vulnerable to corrupt practices, is the existence of a huge, largely unregulated online betting industry in the Indian sub-continent," Judge Richard Mansell QC observed.
He further added: "However, by far the most insidious consequence of these offences is the undermining of public confidence in the integrity of the sporting contest, not simply in the individual match directly affected but in the game of cricket generally." These are words that should find their way to the ears of cricket administrators across the world.