Pakistan cricket authorities on Saturday banned international umpire Nadeem Ghauri for four years after a sting operation by an Indian television channel found him willing to spot-fix.
The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) announced the ban after the private India TV channel aired footage in October in which a number of umpires faced questions from undercover reporters asking if they would give decisions in return for cash.
Domestic umpire banned too
Ghauri, 50, is a former international player, who officiated in five Tests, 43 one-day and four Twenty20 internationals. The PCB also banned domestic first-class umpire Anis Siddiqui for three years.
Ghauri said the suspension had left him reeling. “The four years ban is a big shock for me,” he said. “I will consult lawyers and friends before taking the next step. I was never involved in any sort of corruption as player or as umpire.”
The PCB said in a statement that Ghauri “straight away agreed to extend undue favours for material gains, therefore, he cannot be cleared to officiate matches for a period of four years”.
However, it noted that Siddiqui “resisted their undue demands repeatedly, but finally conceded to them on their persistence”. The umpires caught up in the sting including the two from Pakistan, three from Sri Lanka and Nadir Shah of Bangladesh.
The Bangladesh Cricket Board last month banned Shah, an international umpire, for ten years after he appeared to show he was willing to give lbw decisions in return for cash.
All the umpires were immediately suspended by their respective countries on the instructions of the International Cricket Council (ICC) pending inquiry. “Today’s decision reiterates the commitment of the PCB to keep our great sport free of all corrupt practices,” the PCB statement said after reaching a decision during a meeting of the integrity committee.
The allegations were broadcast only days after the final of the World Twenty20 tournament in Sri Lanka. The PCB said it had undertaken a rigorous investigation before coming to its decision.
“The committee obtained unedited video footage from the India TV along with all relevant evidence available with the ICC, and after authenticating Ghauri and Siddiqui were asked to give a written submissions and were cross examined,” it said. Sri Lanka Cricket’s inquiry against their umpires Gamini Dissanayake, Maurice Winston, Sagara Gallage is still pending.