AWOL UAE wicketkeeper Ghulam Shabber officially part of ICC anti-corruption investigation

Matt Jones - Editor 21:33 30/10/2019
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Image - The National Sport/Twitter

The Emirates Cricket Board (ECB) has suspended AWOL wicketkeeper Ghulam Shabber and has confirmed that the 33-year-old is also officially part of the ongoing ICC anti-corruption investigation involving UAE players.

The UAE lost their T20 World Cup Qualifier showdown against Scotland on Wednesday, thus ending their chances of making the T20 World Cup in Australia next year. It compounded a miserable tournament for the host nation who have had to battle on in hopes of gaining one of the six places on offer for next year’s tournament under a dark cloud of alleged corruption swirling rumours.

Mohammed Naveed, Qadeer Ahmed and Shaiman Anwar were provisionally suspended by the ICC after being charged with multiple violations of the ICC anti-corruption code.

Ashfaq Ahmed was then suspended by the ECB following the eight-wicket win over Hong Kong, although no formal charges have been brought. It then came to light that Shabber had failed to attend the same game, and was later revealed to have left the country, returning to his native Pakistan.

At the time he was not thought to be related to the probe involving team-mates, but that stance has since changed.

“Emirates Cricket Board has today confirmed that the board has suspended UAE player, Ghulam Shabber, for absconding,” the ECB said in a statement released on Wednesday evening.

Ashfaq Ahmed is one of five UAE players now caught up in the drama.

Ashfaq Ahmed is one of five UAE players now caught up in the drama.

“The board also confirms he is part of the current and ongoing ICC Anti-Corruption investigation.

“Shabber did not attend the team meeting, held Monday, October 21st, and was not on the team bus that left the team hotel for their T20 World Cup Qualifying match against Hong Kong on the same day.

“Only after ECB management conducted an extensive search into his well-being and safety, which included liaising with UAE Authorities, was it discovered that he had departed the UAE in the early hours of Monday morning without advising team management nor gaining approval from his employer – the Emirates Cricket Board.

“No formal charges have been laid against the player at this stage and, while the ICC Anti-Corruption investigation continues, the Board will make no further comment.

“The Board fully supports the ICC and the ICC Anti-Corruption Unit in their efforts and denounces any activities of corruption.”

The Shabber revelation bookended a dreadful day and a woeful few weeks for Dougie Brown’s side, who had failed to automatically qualify as one of the best two teams at the tournament – Ireland and Papua New Guinea earning those spots.

They then fell at the first play-off hurdle against the Netherlands on Tuesday, before disaster struck in Dubai on Wednesday.

Ahmed Raza’s men were second best in all departments as a rampant Scotland romped their way to a comprehensive 90-run win in the Qualifier play-off.

Having been set a daunting target of 199 to win the game, the hosts were bundled out for just 108 runs after a sorry batting effort.

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