Oman cricketer Yousef Abdulrahim Al Balushi has been banned for 7 years by the ICC for breaching cricket’s anti-corruption code.
Reportedly, the case could also lead to potential sanctions for 3 UAE players.
Yousuf Abdulrahim Al Balushi has been suspended after the Oman International accepted four corruption charges, all in connection with the T20 World Cup Qualifier in Dubai and Abu Dhabi last year.
In the build up to that competition, three UAE players – Mohammed Naveed, Shaiman Anwar and Qadeer Ahmed – were also charged with a variety of violations of the game’s anti-corruption code, and suspended shortly after.
Although the cases of those 3 UAE players are not similar to one another, and are entirely independent of that of Al Balushi, the system by which the Oman cricketer’s ban was chased is instructive.
As per the ICC, Al Balushi admitted to an agreed sanction, as opposed to taking his case to a tribunal.
Naveed, the biggest name in the UAE cricket team, is understood to have rejected an agreed sanction of a five-year ban from international cricket in order to fight his case. He will now go up against a three-man tribunal at in the next month or so. The tribunal will be chaired by Michael Beloff QC, who conducted the cases of Pakistan players Mohammed Amir, Mohammed Asif and Salman Butt back in 2011.
If the player(s) are found guilty, the ban could be in the range of 8-10 years.
According to the official ICC report regarding the ongoing case, Al Balushi was reached out to last August by a man he knew from an unofficial league in Bahrain, conducted in 2017.
The individual contacted him with a plan to carry out a “job” – meaning to correct aspects of the Qualifier.
In an arranged meeting in Dubai with two friends of the man, Al Balushi was ordered he had to get a specific player from the Oman team to agree to some terms.
“On their signal, Player A would need to get out, and that, to show he was ready for the fix, Player A would use a particular colour bat handle grip,” the ICC report read
The grip could either orange or black, “and he would be required to get himself out in less than a particular number of runs after a signal” from the two men in the stands.
In 3 games, the player needed to make 12 to 15 runs, then get out. In exchange, he would be paid 3,000-4,000 Omani Rials (Dh29,000-39,000).
The player immediately turned down the approach and reached out to the ICC.
However, Al Balushi deleted some messages, including those which showed he was offered 10,000 Omani Rials (Dh95,000) for his participation in the crime.