LONDON: Former Pakistan cricketer Nasir Jamshed, 32, will be sentenced in February after pleading guilty in a British court to conspiring to bribe other players to spot-fix a Twenty20 match.
The 30-year-old was banned for 10 years in August 2018 by an anti-corruption tribunal for his part in a spot-fixing scandal that engulfed the Pakistan Super League (PSL) in 2017 and was charged with bribery offences last December.
Jamshed, an opening batsman who represented Pakistan 68 times across all three formats, changed his plea during his trial at Manchester Crown Court, the BBC reported.
He was arrested along with British nationals Yousaf Anwar and Mohammed Ijaz, who both pleaded guilty to bribery offences last week. The conspiracy was uncovered via a National Crime Agency (NCA) investigation using an undercover police officer.
The NCA investigation first exposed an attempt to fix a game in the Bangladesh Premier League in 2016 and then a successful fix in the PSL in 2017, where opening batsmen agreed not to score from the first two balls, the prosecution told the court.
Nasir Jamshed, 30, from Walsall, in the West Midlands, was the target of bribery but then acted as a go-between, encouraging others in return for money. Jamshed changed his plea during his trial at Manchester Crown Court.
Last week Yousef Anwar, 36, of Littlebrook Avenue, Slough, Berkshire, and Mohammed Ijaz, 34, of Chippingham Road, Sheffield, admitted conspiring to offer bribes to professional cricketers, ahead of their trial at the same court.
Prosecutor Andrew Thomas QC said that as part of a National Crime Agency investigation, an undercover police officer infiltrated the network by posing as a member of a corrupt betting syndicate. That led to the uncovering of an attempted fix in the Bangladesh Premier League (BPL) in 2016 and an actual fix in the Pakistan Super League (PSL) in 2017, with opening batsmen agreeing to not score runs from the first two balls.
Jamshed was targeted for the BPL and then encouraged others to spot-fix in a fixture between Islamabad United and Peshawar Zalmi in Dubai in February 2017.
Anwar, described in court as the ringleader, told the undercover officer he had six players, including Jamshed, working for him in the BPL and freely admitted having been involved in spot-fixing for about 10 years,
The court heard the pair met the officer at a restaurant in Birmingham where plans were discussed for further spot-fixing in the PSL involving cricketers from the Rangpur Riders. But after the game, players were spoken to and statements taken and mobile phones were seized, Mr Thomas said.
Last year Jamshed was banned from the sport for 10 years following an investigation by the Pakistan Cricket Board’s anti-corruption unit.
Giving the details of the case, NCA has reported further that
At Manchester Crown Court on 9th December, Jamshaid pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit bribery. He joins British nationals Yousaf Anwar, 35, from Hayes in West London, and Mohammad Ijaz, 33, from Sheffield, who also admitted their roles in the conspiracy on 2 December 2019.
Using an undercover officer, NCA investigators identified that the group were plotting to fix elements of the 2016 Bangladesh Premier League T20 tournament which Jamshaid 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. The player would signal at the start of the match to confirm the fix was on.
According to NCA, 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.
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 Latif originally agreeing to the fix, it was Khan who entered the crease almost five hours into the game displaying the pre-agreed signal.
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 2017 Jamshaid was arrested by NCA officers at his home, and Anwar was arrested at Heathrow Airport after flying back from Dubai. Ijaz was detained at his home in Sheffield ten days later. All three men will be sentenced in February 2020 on a date to be confirmed. Jamshaid, Latif, Khan, and a fourth player, Mohammed Irfan, were all suspended by the Pakistan Cricket Board following subsequent tribunal hearings.