Karachi: Former Pakistan head coach Waqar Younis believes cricket boards need to increase their monitoring of franchise-based T20 leagues and educate the players to keep the sport clean of corruption.
Islamabad United and the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) faced embarrassment last February when two of the national team batsmen, Sharjeel Khan and Khalid Latif were found guilty of meeting with a bookmaker and agreeing to spot fix in the second edition of the Pakistan Super League (PSL).
Both of them, who were with Islamabad United, were suspended and sent back home on the second day of the league from Dubai and have since then been banned for five years by a three-member anti-corruption tribunal of the PCB.
Sharjeel has had his appeal rejected by an independent adjudicator but his lawyer, Shaighan Ejaz confirmed that they would be going to the Lahore High Court to file another appeal against the ban as his client was innocent.
"The menace of spot-fixing and gambling is like cancer for all sports including cricket and it is very important cricket boards take all steps to root out this problem from all cricket," said Waqar, who is bowling coach and Director of Cricket in the Islamabad United franchise for the third edition of PSL.
He noted that due to popularity of franchise-based T20 leagues, players would be targeted by corrupt elements and they had to be educated to remain on guard all the time.
"We are now carrying out a strict monitoring of all players in our franchise and we are confident that there will be no repeat of the last PSL incident this time," the former captain added.
Pakistan cricket has been hit hard by fixing scandals starting with a judicial match-fixing inquiry in the 1990s which led to life ban on former Test captain, Salim Malik in 2000.
In 2010, then Pakistan captain Salman Butt, Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Aamir were all caught for spot-fixing during a Test at Lords against England and subsequently banned for minimum of five years by the ICC.
In 2012, the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) banned Pakistan Test leg-spinner, Danish Kaneria for life after finding him guilty of enticing other players to spot fix and meeting a bookie during the English county championship while playing as a pro for Essex.
Some other leading Pakistani players have also come under suspicion over fixing allegations.
Waqar also made it clear that more stringent anti-corruption measures should be taken by all boards if necessary and no player should be spared if found guilty of corruption.
The former pacer, however, said that while the T20 format has grown in popularity in the modern era, Test cricket continues to hold importance.
"Even now everyone knows that no player becomes a big player until he has played and performed in Test matches which is a real challenge.
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