Shakib Al-Hasan banned for two years in graft case, given bodyguard after threats

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DHAKA: Bangladesh captain and star all-rounder Shakib Al Hasan was banned on Tuesday from all cricket for two years, with one year suspended, the International Cricket Council (ICC) said. The ban came after Shakib “accepted three charges of breaching the ICC Anti-Corruption Code”, the sport’s governing body said in a statement.

These included failing to disclose to the ICC’s Anti-Corruption Unit (ACU) full details of approaches or invitations made in relation to the Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Zimbabwe Tri-Series in January 2018 as well as the 2018 Indian Premier League (IPL), it said.

Shakib Al-Hasan

“Under the provisions of the Code, Mr Al Hasan chose to admit the charges and agreed the sanction with the ICC in lieu of an Anti-Corruption Tribunal hearing,” the ICC said. “Subject to him satisfying the conditions in respect of the suspended part of the sanction, he will be free to resume international cricket on 29 October 2020,” it added.

Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina said that the country’s cricket board, the BCB, “will always be with Shakib and will help him in every way”. She said that while match-fixers often contact players, Sbakib’s “mistake is that when he was contacted he didn’t give it too much importance. He didn’t inform… the ICC”.

Only last week, Shakib led a brief strike by Bangladesh’s professional cricketers to press for better pay and benefits.

Meanwhile, Shakib Al Hasan has been given an armed bodyguard after he was threatened by a man for attending a Hindu ceremony in neighbouring India, the country’s cricket board said Wednesday.

The cricketer is the latest target of Islamists in Bangladesh, who have also held arge anti-France ralliesl in recent weeks following president Emmanuel Macron’s defence of the right to publish cartoons depicting the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him).

The 33-year-old sparked a social media storm in Bangladesh after attending a ceremony in Kolkata dedicated to a Hindu goddess on November 12.

A man who threatened Shakib on social media for “hurting religious sentiment” was arrested by police on Tuesday. “The threat is concerning,” Bangladesh Cricket Board’s chief executive Nizamuddin Chowdhury told reporters in Dhaka.

“We took immediate measures and also informed the relevant security agencies. They are also taking necessary steps,” Chowdhury added, without giving further details.

He did not say if Shakib would receive round-the-clock protection. An armed bodyguard was seen beside Shakib during a training session in Dhaka on Wednesday ahead of a domestic Twenty20 tournament next week.

The player on Monday publicly apologised for being at the event in Kolkata. Islamic preachers in Bangladesh say people should not attend the ceremonies of other faiths.

Shakib is the International Cricket Council’s top-ranked all-rounder in one-day internationals. In 2015, he became the first cricketer to hold the ICC’s top all-rounder ranking in the game’s three formats — Tests, one-day internationals and Twenty20 internationals.

Conservative Bangladesh has experienced increasing tensions between hardliners and secularists in recent years, suffering a spate of killings of atheist bloggers, religious minorities and foreigners.