Fast bowler Mohammad Irfan has been banned from all forms of cricket for a year after he pleaded guilty to failing to report details of two approaches to corrupt the game.
He can return, however, after six months if he assists the Pakistan Cricket Board in their ongoing investigations into the Pakistan Super League corruption scandal, and if he doesn’t breach the board’s anti-corruption code in that time. He has also been fined PKR 1 million. His ban is effective from the day he was provisionally suspended on March 14.
A PCB press release said Irfan was found to be in breach of “failing to disclose to the PCB Vigilance and Security Department (without unnecessary delay) full details of any approaches or invitations received by the Participant to engage in Corrupt Conduct under this Anti-Corruption Code.”
“I was approached twice and it was my mistake that I did not report it to PCB’s anti-corruption unit,” Irfan said at a press conference in Lahore. “I admit my mistake for not reporting. I ask the whole nation to forgive me if anyone is hurt by this mistake of mine.”
The ban will come as a blow to Irfan as well as to Pakistan. Though he last played for Pakistan in an ODI last September and had been falling out of favour, he was recalled to the ODI squad in January for the series against Australia. He had to return home almost as soon as he arrived, however, following the death of his mother.
Rumman Raees and Mohammad Sami took more wickets than him in the PSL this season, but after an uncertain start following his questioning in relation to the corruption investigation, Irfan looked to be bowling somewhere near his best. Instead, he will now have to hit restart after at least a six-month break, a period in which his only cricketing activity will be to deliver lectures under the PCB’s anti-corruption education programme.
Irfan, along with Shahzaib Hasan and Zulfiqar Babar, was initially questioned by the PCB’s anti-corruption unit during the recently-concluded Pakistan Super League, but was allowed to continue playing in the tournament. Earlier this month, however, Irfan was provisionally suspended from all forms after he was summoned to appear before the anti-corruption committee.
Shahzaib, provisionally suspended, is also facing charges of having breached the anti-corruption code of conduct and he has until the end of this week to respond. Meanwhile, Irfan’s Islamabad United team-mates Sharjeel Khan and Khalid Latif are already facing up to a three-man tribunal looking into more serious corruption charges laid against them.