PSL franchise used as bait in betting scam during second edition

Company was formed to lure people into placing big bets

PSL franchise used as bait in betting scam during second edition PHOTO: PSL

An alleged betting scam involving former Pakistan cricketers and official has surfaced, which took place during the second edition of the Pakistan Super League (PSL).

According to a report published in the Daily Express, couple of former Pakistan cricketers colluded with a regional official to form a betting company, using the name of a particular PSL franchise as bait. They lured possible betting clients by giving them confidence that they had people inside the franchise — coach and a team official — assisting them.

The company claimed that it had dispatched expensive cars and watches to the players as a part of their foolproof plan. The people who placed bets were ensured that the franchise would lose its first couple of matches, which gained more credence when the team actually lost its first match resulting in more bets.

But the plan went south as soon as the team went on to win their next match.

This prompted heavy backlash from the people who lost their money and some of them contacted the team management over this matter. The franchise officials were surprised to hear such claims and denied any sort of involvement in the fraudulent scheme.

Upon hearing this, the franchise reported this issue to the Pakistan Cricket Board’s (PCB) anti-corruption unit (ACU) but it could not confirm whether further action was taken on the matter or not.

“We reported the incident to PCB’s ACU as soon as we heard about it but we are not aware about the progress made by the board in this regard,” a franchise official said.

One of the cricketers involved in the scam has been reported as part of various different spot-fixing scandals, while the other makes regular appearances on various TV channels as a cricket expert.

Meanwhile, director of PCB’s security and ACU Col. (retd) Mohammad Azam said that he had no information regarding the creation of such a company.

“As far as I know, no franchise reported such an issue,” said Azam. “It is normal to create such entities for betting purposes with the help of former cricketers — because they know a fair bit about the game and its dynamics.”

He added: “First-class cricketers are also part of the board’s code or conduct which is why they are not allowed to get involved in betting activities but it is hard to keep track of former cricketers’ participation in it.”

Although he reiterated that the PSL is strictly monitored — with the help of a company named ‘Sportradar’ — and any suspicious activity is immediately reported to the PCB.

“After the spot-fixing scandal of season two, we have taken stern measures to counter illegal activity,” said Azam. “We are responsible for keeping our country’s integrity intact which is why we have devised a system ensuring that we remain a step ahead of the fixers.” 

It must be noted that the second edition of the Pakistan Super League was rocked by the spot-fixing scandal. Punishments were dished out to Nasir Jamshed, Mohammad Irfan, Sharjeel Khan, Khalid Latif and Shahzaib Hasan for their part in the crime.

Earlier Hasan Raza, who is the youngest cricketer to ever play a Test match, was also caught on camera along with former Indian cricketer Robin Morris during Al Jazeera’s spot-fixing sting operation.