Kumar Sangakkara, the former Sri Lankan great, praised authorities on handling the spot-fixing issue in Pakistan Super League 2017 and stressed on players to show more responsibility to leave no room for corruption.
Friday (February 10) saw two players from Islamabad United — Sharjeel Khan and Khalid Latif — expelled from PSL 2017 after they confessed to meeting an individual linked to an international betting syndicate.
Three other players — Mohammad Irfan (Islamabad), Shahzaib Hasan (Karachi Kings) and Zulfiqar Babar (Quetta Gladiators) — were questioned but were cleared of any wrongdoings.
Asked whether the incident affected players in the league, Sangakkara, leading Karachi in the second edition of the event, said: “Time might will tell, but for us it’s about concentrating on our cricket.
“The authorities in place did a good job. It’s unfortunate such a thing like that happened, but the player from our team was cleared of everything and was cleared to play so we were back to 100 percent on the field. For us, it was back to the game as we have great responsibility to respect the game and we never leave room for any sort of corruption.”
Sangakkara, whose team went down to Quetta by seven wickets, said Hasan was in the right frame of mind to play on after reporting the authorities of an approach and being cleared.
“We had a chat with him and he was in a very good frame of mind,” he suggested. “Of course he was rattled, anyone would be, but once he was cleared he was relieved. I thought he batted very well and was unfortunate to get out, but he was positive and was good.”
That left Karachi in a spot of bother with two defeats in as many games and six to play. The top four teams will contest the playoffs with one team out of the contest. Quetta tops the points table with two wins in as many games while Islamabad, Lahore and Peshawar have a win and loss each.
Sangakkara believed his team fell just short of a winning performance. “I think we had a problem of bowling short in the middle for us to really try us and get an advantage,” said the master left-handed batsman. “We also wanted to push them in the power play and get early wickets but it was not to be, and to capitalise on that we probably needed another full time bowler. ”
Karachi were lifted to 159 for 8 by Babar Azam’s 42-ball 50, but the others wasted good starts. Quetta chased the target in the final over with Rilee Rossouw and Sarfraz Ahmed notching half-centuries.
“Babar showed a lot of promise. We were there but not quite,” explained Sangakkara. “I think we fielded well but they ran very hard. Sarfraz and Rilee Rossouw ran fast and took doubles and put a lot of pressure on our bowlers. When you don’t get boundaries you need to run hard, and they did exactly that. They each played a good innings and that helped them. For us, we have to look at what we did and probably have a better combination in the next game.
“Rilee batted very positively and that’s what Quetta needed, and he didn’t take a lot of balls to settle down. We need to be a bit more on the ball in the field because they ran a lot of twos. We had a good performance but not quite good enough to win so [we have] a few areas to work on. I think we just [need] to string performances to get a win, but we need to get that 20 more runs and field better and probably play an extra bowler.”
Karachi have four days to regroup as the league shifts to Sharjah from February 15. They play Lahore the following day.
“That’s all we have, we have four days to regroup. We have a job to do in four days and we got to try hard and keep going. All we need is to string a winning performance.”