Shahzaib Hasan’s ban for spot-fixing upped to 4 years

In this file photo, suspended Pakistani cricketer Shahzaib Hasan, left, arrives with his lawyers to appear before a tribunal in Lahore on March 31, 2017. (ARIF ALI/AFP)
Updated 10 August 2018
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Shahzaib Hasan’s ban for spot-fixing upped to 4 years

  • Hasan, 28, was banned in February this year after being found guilty of not disclosing a fixing offer to the anti-corruption unit of the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB)
  • Jamshed is also charged with other breaches and faces a life ban, a decision likely to be announced next week

LAHORE: An independent adjudicator Friday increased the ban on Pakistan’s World Twenty20-winning opener Shahzaib Hasan from one year to four on appeal from the country’s cricket board.
Hasan, 28, was banned in February this year after being found guilty of not disclosing a fixing offer to the anti-corruption unit of the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB).
He was also fined one million rupees ($8,200).
The PCB had appealed the length of the ban, saying it was too lenient.
“The independent adjudicator Justice (retired) Hamid Hussain has accepted (the) PCB’s appeal and lifted the ban to four years while upholding the fine,” the board’s legal adviser Taffazul Rizvi told media.
Spot-fixing refers to illegal activity in a sport where a specific part of a game is fixed, unlike match-fixing, where the whole result is fixed.
Shahzaib is one of six players sanctioned in the spot-fixing case which rocked the second edition of Pakistan Super League last year, a Twenty20 tournament.
Swashbuckling opener Sharjeel Khan, Khalid Latif, Mohammad Irfan, Mohammad Nawaz, and Nasir Jamshed were also given bans of varying lengths.
Jamshed is also charged with other breaches and faces a life ban, a decision likely to be announced next week.
Hasan’s lawyer Kashif Rajwana said his client is likely to challenge the decision in court.
Hasan played the last of his three one-day internationals in November 2010. He has also played 10 Twenty20 internationals for Pakistan, including the World Twenty20 which Pakistan won in 2009.
Hasan, like Jamshed, now lives in the UK.


Saudi Arabia hopeful ahead of opening Asian Games opening clash against Iran

Updated 14 August 2018
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Saudi Arabia hopeful ahead of opening Asian Games opening clash against Iran

  • Young Falcons hopeful of a semifinal spot.
  • Under-23 players keen on making a name for themselves in Indonesia.

JAKARTA: There is a widely held belief that to succeed in sport, you must start early.
Officials from the Saudi Arabia National Olympic Committee will be hoping it rings true this month as the Kingdom’s Under-23 football team prepares to prematurely kick-off its Asian Games campaign this afternoon in Jakarta, three days before the continent’s largest multi-sport competition officially begins.
Similar to the Olympics, the football tournament starts before the opening ceremony and finishes on the competition’s final day, Sept. 2. The fledgling Young Falcons face Iran today at the 28,000-capacity Wibawa Mukti Stadium in the Indonesian capital.
The Saudi NOC have brought a delegation of 169 athletes, including eight females, and will compete across 22 disciplines, including athletics, shooting, taekwondo and volleyball. The three-week Asian Games operate both as a continental precursor and, at times, a qualifying tournament for 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.
The Young Falcons made their football debut at the Asian Games in South Korea four years ago, reaching the quarterfinals in Incheon, before losing to Iraq. Their regional neighbors were inspired by legendary striker Younes Mahmoud, who had been included as one of Iraq’s three over-age players and scored twice in a 3-0 win.
Yet the impact of Mahmoud in Korea has not influenced the team’s selection. With the Saudi Pro League starting next week, coach Saad Al-Shehri has opted to forego athletes older than 23, instead selecting a squad consisting primarily of Al-Ahli development players and a smattering of Al-Hilal, Al-Nassr, Al-Ittihad and Al-Ettifaq-based youths.
“We haven’t brought any overage players because we are playing here as preparation for the U23 Asian Cup, which will offer qualification for Tokyo 2020,” said Faisal Almarashdi, a spokesman for the team.
“We have brought to Indonesia only players who are 21 or under as they will all be eligible for Tokyo. Many have already played at the Under-20 World Cup under coach Saad, so there was never any discussion to use the three allocated over-age slots.”
Abdullah Otayf is the model example of how Asian Games experience can help a young career. Four years ago, the deep-lying midfielder was part of the squad that traveled to Korea. This summer he was an integral part of the Green Falcons side that played at the World Cup in Russia. 
With national team coach Juan Antonio Pizzi following the competition from afar, there will be chances to catch the eye for the likes of striker Haroune Camara and midfielders Abdullah Yahya Magrshi and Ali Hassan Al-Asmari ahead of January’s Asian Cup. Both midfielders have already made their full debuts for Ahli and featured in the Jeddah club’s Champions League campaign last season, while Al-Qadisiyah’s Camara was included in Pizzi’s provisional World Cup squad before being cut from the final 23.
“These Asian Games are very important for the young players involved,” Almarashdi added.
“They are the future of the senior team so if they play well here and at the U23 Asian Cup then, we hope, they will go to Tokyo 2020. From then on the pathway to the senior team is already very clear.”  
Much like the seniors, the U23 side is both short and slight, with only two of the 10 midfielders and forwards standing above 5 foot 8 (172m). Today’s opponents Iran are not only taller and more physical, they also have, in Croatian coach Zlatko Kranjčar, a manager who knows West Asian football after short spells in Qatar and the UAE. In their most recent preparation match, Iran lost 3-2 to China. 
Saudi Arabia, meanwhile, beat the UAE last week in Malaysia following a pair of friendlies against local sides. Today’s match will kick-off at 4 p.m. local time, midday in Saudi Arabia.