Shihab Jishan Chowdury, a co-owner of Dhaka Gladiators in the Bangladesh Premier League, has been found guilty of ‘being party to an effort to fix’ a match during the 2013 season of the event. However, Kent batsman Darren Stevens and five others, against whom formal charges for being part of the fix were laid, have been found not guilty by an International Cricket Council tribunal that investigated the alleged corruption in the BPL.
Apart from Stevens, two other Gladiators players who were named in the case, Mahbubul Alam and Mosharraf Hossain, were also let off the hook with ‘not guilty’ judgements by the tribunal, as were Salim Chowdhury, owner of the Gladiators, Gaurav Rawat, CEO of the Gladiators franchise, and Mohammad Rafique, former Bangladesh spinner and Gladiators’ bowling coach.
However, cricket’s parent board ICC and the head board for cricket in Bangladesh BCB, are not pleased with the tribunal’s verdicts. In a statement on Wednesday, the ICC and BCB had this to say: “The ICC and the BCB have received the determination and are surprised and obviously disappointed with the outcome. Both organisations await the tribunal’s detailed written determination setting out the reasons for the outcome, which will be provided shortly, and will consider it carefully before determining the next steps, including whether to appeal any aspect(s) of the judgment.”
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Others, it goes without saying, were pleased with the ruling. “I am absolutely delighted by the verdict,” said Mosharraf Hossain. “There was a lot of pressure on me, but I feel relieved. Now I will start playing domestic cricket again, try to get a place in the national team. I just got embroiled. But thanks to the judges, now I can play again.”
Shihab’s punishment, along with that of Bangladesh batsman Mohammad Ashraful — who had confessed to have fixed matches in the BPL — will be declared at a later date.
The allegations of spot and match fixing in the BPL first surfaced when Nazmul Hassan, president of BCB, confirmed that a few players in the tournament had been questioned by the ICC. While Ashraful was the first player to admit that he was involved in corruption, the other player to be questioned and indicted is yet to be named.
Kent player in clear
Meanwhile, Stevens, the 37-year-old all-rounder from Kent, had been charged with two counts of failing to report a corrupt approach while playing for the Dhaka Gladiators, and faced a five-year suspension from cricket if found guilty.
“I would officially like to thank the tribunal for their verdict today and in particular their determination of non guilty findings in charges brought against me by the Bangladesh Cricket Board,” Stevens said in a statement on Kent’s website.
“I can assure all of the fans of the Dhaka Gladiators, the people of Bangladesh and all cricket followers, that I have always played the game of cricket honestly, with integrity and to the best of my ability,” he added.