Should Pakistan have brought back Sharjeel Khan?
The Pakistan selection committee has recently recalled Sharjeel Khan for the T20I series against South Africa. This, after four years of absence. It is pertinent to mention that the PCB had banned him for two years for a spot fixing scandal, during the 2017 PSL. Sharjeel Khan’s recall is as a result of his fine form during the curtailed Pakistan Super League (PSL) season 6.
He is currently the third-highest scorer of the season, with 200 runs at a strike rate of 171, including a superb hundred against Islamabad United. Below we look at various aspects as to why Sharjeel Khan’s recall is an unjustified decision.
Unjustified snubbing of Salman Butt and Muhammad Asif
After the spot-fixing scandal of Amir, Butt, and Asif at Lords in 2011, the PCB ignored the latter two on account of their age. The PCB argued that Amir was very young when he committed the spot-fixing act, whereas the latter two were mature enough to be punished for a lifetime duration (unofficially).
However, the PCB has chosen to bring back Sharjeel Khan, despite his age (27) at the time of the crime being mature as well. Hence, this brings into question the fact of selective accountability by the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB).
And, this also raises questions regarding the snubbing of Asif and Salman Butt. Furthermore, Butt has performed exceptionally during the domestic seasons in the past.
What are the lessons from Muhammad Amir’s conundrum?
Undoubtedly, Muhammad Amir did exceptionally well after his recall to the national side having served his spot-fixing ban. However, he soon bid farewell to Test Cricket at the mere age of 27. Having invested a lot in Amir, the decision has affected both the board and the player himself.
Infuriatingly, the PCB has ignored Amir from all other formats as well. Amir on the other hand, has been pretty outspoken. He said that he would not play under the current management. Hence, in the case of Sharjeel, if the events end similarly, it will not help the reputation of the PCB.
A bad precedent for the youngsters
The spot-fixing scandal at Lords has undoubtedly destroyed the reputation of Pakistan cricket as a whole. Even at that time, many players advised that all of the culprits should be banned for life.
Others suggested introducing strict laws that will dither those even thinking of such a crime. Even when the PCB included Amir, it was presented that this would likely be the final courtesy ever to a player.
Now the PCB has recalled Sharjeel after a two-year ban and an additional two years of snubbing.
Is it the right example for other youngsters?
Is spot-fixing such a minor crime that after serving its term, a player regains the right to re-enter the national side?
On one-hand the PCB banned Umar Akmal for not reporting a bookie approach. Ironically, Sharjeel Khan’s recall recently made the news, despite the player being banned for a similar crime in 2017.
Now that the PCB has recalled Sharjeel Khan, other players such as Saleem Malik, Muhammad Asif, Salman Butt, Umar Akmal, Yasir Hameed, and Danish Kaneria at least deserve an appropriate answer from PCB of their snubbing.
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