Sharjeel Khan happy with Pakistan welcome after return from ban

The 31-year-old was banned in 2017 for five years

Sharjeel Khan happy with Pakistan welcome after return from ban PHOTO: AFP

Pakistan opener Sharjeel Khan said Tuesday he was delighted with the welcome he had been given since being recalled to the national squad after completing a lengthy ban for spot-fixing.

The 31-year-old was banned in 2017 for five years — with half the sentence suspended — for his part in rigging Pakistan Super League (PSL) matches in the United Arab Emirates.

Although illegal in Pakistan, gambling on cricket is widespread with punters betting on specific outcomes during the game — such as the number of no-balls or wides bowled in a particular over.

This gives individual players the opportunity to "spot-fix" — influencing the lucrative betting market without, supposedly, affecting the overall outcome of the match.

ALSO READ‘Confident’ Mohammad Haris aims to become Pakistan’s Mr 360

Sharjeel was named earlier this month in the squad to play a series of Twenty20 internationals in South Africa and Zimbabwe next month.

“All the players in the side are those that I have been playing with in the past in domestic cricket for the last one or two years. They have given me a great welcome and have supported me a lot. This includes the players, management and the entire team. We have a great environment and I am feeling really good,” said Sharjeel.

“To come back into the national side is always a great thing. I am very happy. Our current practice and training are being conducted keeping in mind South Africa’s conditions. I have been selected for the T20I squad. We will first be playing ODIs however and I will try to go there and see the conditions first-hand. It is my first time touring South Africa. My first target is to play for my side and give my best performances. I want to give performances that help the side win matches. It is definitely a chance and I will try my best to avail it,” he added. 

Before his ban, the left-handed batsman had played one Test, 25 one-day internationals and 15 Twenty20 matches for Pakistan.

“Our coaches have been legends of the sport. Everyone wishes to play with these legendary players and to learn from them. I have been with them in the past. I spent time with Misbah bhai during the PSL and I have played international cricket with him as well. I still try to learn more things from him. I always try to talk to Misbah bhai to improve my batting skills wherever I can. We have legends around us so I will definitely try to benefit from it,” he concluded. 

Pakistan's tour begins on April 2 with the first of three one-day internationals against South Africa.