Pakistan batsman and Central Punjab captain Ahmed Shehzad has been fined 50 per cent of his match fee after his domestic side were found guilty of ball-tampering during their Quaid-e-Azam Trophy fixture against Sindh in Faisalabad earlier this week.
A Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) statement said that “Shehzad was found guilty of committing a Level 1 offence under Article 2.14, which relates to changing condition of the ball (non-identification) during a match”. The statement explained that Shehzad was not directly identified to have tampered with the ball.
During the 17th over of Sindh’s first innings on Tuesday, on-field umpires Mohammad Asif and Zameer Ahmed found during an inspection that the ball had been “unfairly changed by a member of the fielding side” and reported the matter to the match referee.
The PCB statement said that match referee Nadeem Arshad “determined that Ahmed Shehzad, as captain, had a case to answer for the contravention as the incident related to non-identification of the player and a Notice of Charge was issued to him under the PCB Code of Conduct”.
Shehzad pleaded not guilty to the charge but was found to be so during a hearing that took the place after the match was drawn on Thursday. The 27-year-old argued that the ball’s condition was altered naturally by the “rough playing square” rather than by him or a member of his side.
“We can agree to disagree in this incident as I maintain that the condition of the ball changed naturally due to the rough playing square and not artificially,” said Shehzad. “I tried to convince the match officials, but they insisted and I accept and respect their decision.
“I would never indulge in such an act nor allow any of my team-mates to disrespect the game. My priority is to play hard, competitive and result-oriented cricket, and at the same time inspire the younger generation, which watches us play the game.”
Shehzad isn’t the only player in the match to have landed in hot water. In an unrelated incident, Shehzad’s teammate Azhar Ali – who was named Pakistan Test skipper last month – and Sindh’s Sohail Khan were found guilty of committing PCB level one offences after the pair were involved in an argument.
The PCB statement added: “Azhar Ali was found guilty of engaging in a Level 1 offence described in Article 2.9, which deals with throwing a ball at or near a player, support personnel, umpire, match referee or any other third person in an inappropriate and/or dangerous manner during a match, while Sohail Khan was found guilty of committing an Article 2.10 – Level 1 offence, which pertains to time wasting by any player or team during a match.
“Both the players were charged by on-field umpires Mohammad Asif and Zameer Ahmed. As the players accepted the proposed sanctions by match referee Nadeem Arshad, there was no further need for formal hearings.”