‘To conceal bookie's proposal was a silly mistake’ - Sakib

Sports Editor, Barta24.com, Dhaka
Photo: Collected

Photo: Collected

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Bangladesh’s ace all rounder Shakib Al Hassan is now under one year suspension for concealing his discussions with cricket bookie. A one-year suspended ban means instead of 2021, Shakib can resume all crickets from October 29 later this year.

Shakib Al Hasan has admitted his lax attitude to addressing a bookie's approach led to his suspension by the ICC last October.

An extensive investigation from the ICC had found the Bangladesh all rounder guilty of failing to report the several approaches made by bookie Deepak Agarwal, notably on two occasions seeking team information during the 2018 tri-series in Bangladesh in January and the IPL three months later. While the investigation revealed that Shakib had WhatsApp conversations with the said bookie, including asking him to "meet first", he had only grown suspicious of the latter's intentions much later. Shakib therefore decided not to act on it, but also did not deem it necessary to report the matter which subsequently landed him in trouble.

"I took the approaches too casually," Shakib told Harsha Bhogle on Cricbuzz in Conversation. "When I met the anti-corruption guy and told them and they knew everything. Gave them all the evidence and they knew everything that happened... To be honest, that's the only reason I was banned for a year, otherwise I'd have been banned for five or 10 years," he added on the ICC's investigation.

"But I think that was a silly mistake I made. Because with my experience and the amount of international matches I've played and the amount of ICC's anti-corruption code of conduct classes I took, I shouldn't have made that decision [to not report], to be honest. I regret that. And I think no one should take such messages or calls (from bookies) lightly or leave it away... We must inform the ICC ACSU guy to be on the safe side and that's the lesson I learnt, and I think I learnt a big lesson."

After being under ICC's Anti Corruption Unit's surveillance for long, Shakib was interviewed twice - first on January 23, 2019 and then on August 27, 2019 - before the governing body came to the decision of slapping the all-rounder with a two-year ban from all forms of cricket, one of which was suspended.

"Because you do most things right in your life, you tend to get arrogant with some decisions. You may not realize but you're doing wrong by the books. It never came to my mind that I am doing something wrong [by not reporting the bookie approach immediately], it was just a feeling of 'okay, what's going to happen, leave it' and I continued with my life. But that's the mistake I made. And that happens," the 33-year-old said.

Shakib, however, has vowed to emerge stronger from this episode and when he does, to repay the immense faith his supporters have shown in him all these years. "This time and this situation taught me things completely differently. Previously I was playing for the country, for myself, for my family. But, now what I only think is what I can do to give back to the people who have been supporting me for 12-15 years and are now disappointed with what I did, and how can I repay them. Now that's the only mentality I have."