Pakistani batsman Umar Akmal knows how to stay in the news – not always for the good reasons though. This time he has made claims about some bookies approaching about spot-fixing during the 2015 Cricket World Cup.
Cricket’s regulatory body in Pakistan, Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has summoned the cricketer to explain his comments before the Anti-Corruption Unit (ACU) on 27 June 2018. The notice was served to Umar Akmal within hours after he had talked about the corrupt approaches during cricket’s biggest event. In an interview, he said that he was offered $200,000 for playing two dot balls in Pakistan’s group-stage clash against India.
Update: Notice served to Umar Akmal. He has been asked to appear before PCB Anti Corruption Unit (ACU) on June 27.
— PCB Media (@TheRealPCBMedia) June 24, 2018
Akmal revealed the spot-fixing approaches on Sunday while talking to a news channel, saying that the bookies contacted him before every game against the arch-rivals, asking him to sit on the bench for the games. The controversial cricketer told the channel that he had turned down the offers by telling the fixers that he is sincere to his country and that they should stay away from him.
In the match under scrutiny, Akmal scored a duck from 4 balls while chasing 301. There is no evidence as to whether the cricketer was involved in any illegal conduct in the match yet.
Whilst we note that there is no suggestion that any ‘fix’ actually took place, the ICC is reliant on players to report any corrupt approaches in a timely manner.
The timings of Akmal’s revelations is questionable, and claiming it in the media instead of reporting to the PCB’s ACU may work against him. As per the ICC Anti-Corruption Code 2018, a cricketer is bound to report any illegal activity as soon as an approach has been made. The Article 2.2.4 states:
A Participant shall not discharge his burden under this Article unless and until the required disclosure has been made directly to the ACU by such Participant. It is not sufficient for such disclosure to be made instead to any other third party, including any player, club or team official, or National Cricket Federation representative.
It remains to be seen whether the cricketer had already reported the incident to the authorities or not. Failure to report is a breach of anti-corruption conduct and the cricketers are liable to be punished.
International cricket’s regulatory body has already launched an investigation, saying:
We have launched an investigation and wish to speak to Mr Akmal as a matter of urgency. Our Anti-Corruption Unit is committed to working to uphold integrity in cricket.
With Ahmad Shahzad penalized for failing a dope test, Umar Akmal may also be found wanting. However, his punishment would be far more severe if he has not reported the incident earlier.