• Allegations centre on Dhaka match against Chittagong
• English players in league could be called for testimony
The build-up to the Champions Trophy will be undermined by a corruption scandal on a second front after the International Cricket Council confirmed it has launched an investigation into allegations about suspicious events in the 2013 Bangladesh Premier League.
No arrests have yet been made, unlike the ongoing probe into the Indian Premier League which has been led by Mumbai police and has already seen three players and a number of bookmakers jailed.
But the involvement of the ICC’s Anti-Corruption and Security Unit (ACSU) will inevitably require support from the England and Wales Cricket Board, as around 20 players currently employed by first-class counties played in the BPL in January and February – including Ravi Bopara, who made 10 appearances for the Chittagong Kings and is a member of the England squad for the NatWest series against New Zealand that starts at Lord’s on Friday.
Other English players to have appeared in the 2013 BPL included Luke Wright and Owais Shah, both for Dhaka Gladiators, and Phil Mustard, of Barisal Burners.
The ECB’s anti-corruption unit was already expected to interview the handful of English players who have been involved in the IPL with the Rajasthan Royals, the franchise that was initially at the centre of the IPL spot-fixing scandal – although it has since spread, with a former official of the Chennai Super Kings among those arrested.
Local reports in Bangladesh have named Mohammad Ashraful, who scored a Test century at the age of 17 in 2001 and was captain between 2001 and 2007, as among those being questioned. Ashraful, whose Dhaka Gladiators team beat Chittagong Kings in the BPL final, has been quoted as confirming that he has been questioned but insisting he had done nothing wrong. Jalal Yunus, a spokesman for the Bangladesh Cricket Board, told local media: “The allegations involve a match between Dhaka Gladiators and Chittagong Kings in the second edition of the BPL.”
An ICC spokesman added: “The ACSU is looking into allegations about the Bangladesh Premier League. As the investigations are ongoing and to ensure the process is not jeopardised, we cannot share any further details at this stage.”
The BCB decided to hire the ICC’s anti-corruption team for an investigation in 2013 after Shariful Haque, a former international spinner, was found guilty of spot-fixing in the 2012 competition and was then banned indefinitely.
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