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February 8, 2020

Nasir Jamshed, two match fixers jailed for cricket corruption

Top Story

February 8, 2020

LONDON: Former star Pakistani cricketer Nasir Jamshed and his two accomplices have been jailed for conspiring to offer bribes to professional cricket players during at least two premier league matches.

Nasir Jamshaid, aged 33, and British nationals Yousaf Anwar, 36, and Mohammad Ijaz, 34, admitted their roles in the conspiracy following a covert investigation by the National Crime Agency (NCA).

At the Manchester Crown Court, Nasir Jamshed, Anwar and Ijaz were sentenced to 17 months, 3 years and 4 months, and 2 years and 6 months jail respectively.

Jailing all three men at the Manchester Crown Court on Friday, Judge Richard Mansell QC said the fixers, Anwar and Ijaz, both from Sheffield, had engaged in "sophisticated and organised criminal activity" while Nasir Jamshed was "vulnerable to succumbing to the temptation of financial reward".

Judge Mansell said: "Corruption of this kind hassadly 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, combined with a huge increase in online gambling.

"What makes cricket, and specifically these T20 tournaments in Bangladesh, Pakistan and India, so vulnerable to corrupt practices, is the existence of a huge, largely unregulated online betting industry in the Indian Sub-Continent."

He said players not earning huge sums of money were prone to temptation while the corrupt practice also affected legitimate betting markets and honest punters. He 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."

Using an undercover officer, NCA investigators identified that the group were plotting to fix elements of the 2016 Bangladesh Premier League T20 tournament which Jamshed was due to play in.

Anwar and Ijaz developed a system by which they would identify a professional player willing to partake in an agreed fix, and the player would signal at the start of the match to confirm the fix was on. Typically, they would charge £30,000 per fix with half of that going to the player.

The following year, the three men made further plans to fix Pakistan Super League (PSL) matches being played in Dubai. In February 2017 Anwar flew out to Dubai to meet with other professional players, including Islamabad United teammates Khalid Latif and Sharjeel Khan, who agreed to play their part in corrupting elements of a game, said the NCA.

Before flying out to join them, Anwar was captured on CCTV purchasing 28 different coloured cricket bat handle grips from a wholesalers in St Albans where he gave Ijaz’s name and address for the receipt. These would subsequently be used by the players as the signal to show the fix was going ahead.

The PSL fixture between Islamabad United and Peshawar Zalmi was played in Dubai on 9 February 2017. Despite Khalid Latif originally agreeing to the fix, it was Sharjeel Khan who entered the crease almost five hours into the game displaying the pre-agreed signal.

Sharjeel Khan then carried out the fix, playing two dot balls in the first two balls of the second over, before getting out leg before wicket (LBW) for 0 in the third ball of the over.

On 13 February, Nasir Jamshed was arrested by NCA officers at his home in Birmingham, and Anwar was arrested at Heathrow Airport after flying back from Dubai. Ijaz was detained at his home in Sheffield ten days later.

Nasir Jamshed, Khalid Latif, Sharjeel Khan, and a fourth player, Mohammad Irfan, were all suspended by the Pakistan Cricket Board following subsequent tribunal hearings.

Ian McConnell, NCA Senior Investigating Officer, said: “These men abused their privileged access to professional, international cricket to corrupt games, eroding public confidence for their own financial gain.

“I would like to thank the England and Wales Cricket Board, International Cricket Council, Gambling Commission and Pakistan Cricket Board for their ongoing support throughout this investigation.”

Yousaf Anwar pleaded guilty on 2 December, 2019 to committing bribery, contrary to section 1(1) and (2) of the Bribery Act 2010; conspiracy to commit bribery, contrary to section 1(1) of the Criminal Law Act 1977. Ijaz pleaded guilty on 2 December, 2019 to committing bribery, contrary to section 1(1) and (2) of the Bribery Act 2010; conspiracy to commit bribery, contrary to section 1(1) of the Criminal Law Act 1977.

Nasir Jamshed pleaded guilty on 9 December, 2019 to conspiracy to commit bribery, contrary to section 1(1) of the Criminal Law Act 1977.