Sharjeel Khan is finally fluttering his wings to make a comeback in top tier cricket by the end of this year. The news emerged after PCB and Sharjeel agreed on a plan of his return following an ‘unconditional apology’ by the accused.
Sharjeel Khan who allegedly breach PCB’s anti-corruption code was handed a ban back in 2017 during PSL season 2. Although the opener was dealt with leniency and was given the minimal punishment, Sharjeel maintained his stance on his innocence and denied to accept any of the charges imposed on him. The 28 year old also approached the court and an independent arbitrator appealing against his ban, but on both occasions his appeal was rejected.
In his statement, Sharjeel Khan apologised unconditionally to PCB, cricket fans, his family and team mates asking for their forgiveness. He ensured that he will be more responsible in future and is ready for a fresh start. He advised the young cricketers to respect PCB’s Code of conduct and emphasized that no one should breach the anti-corruption code as it can result in severe consequences. However, Sharjeel Khan didn’t address the main reason of his apology and dodged repeated media inquiries but his statement reflected enough guilt which convinced PCB to accept his apology.
When asked about the return in domestic and International Cricket, Sharjeel replied that he will soon integrate himself into the club cricket but will not rush into domestic setup. He explained that he was sidelined for 30 months and requires time to get himself into top gear in terms of form and fitness.
Sharjeel have also agreed to undergo the rehabilitation program designed by PCB where he will attend and give lectures on PCB Anti-Corruption codes. Multiple visits to orphanages are also a part of this rehabilitation program.
PCB’s director of Security and Anti-Corruption unit Asif Mahmood said that PCB is not fond of penalizing players and doesn’t glorify it but it has zero tolerance for matters related to corruption. This is an example for all those who think they can get away with it. We are committed to get rid of the corruption from our game.
The comeback of Sharjeel will definitely help Pakistan cricket team, who are short of opening batsmen options in ODI and T20 format. Fakhar Zaman and Imam ul Haq are the only choices and the recent World Cup has shown that they need a stiff competition for that spot otherwise ease and comfort of getting selected over anyone will not be able deliver quality from the pair.
Sharjeel Khan has played 25 ODIs in green shirt with average of 32.48, scoring 6 half centuries and 1 century with a blistering strike rate of 113. In T20’s his average is 24 with 2 half centuries in 15 games boasting a strike rate of 137.
With Fakhar Zaman’s failures and question marks looming over Imam ul Haq’s performance, Sharjeel Khan can be a viable choice for selectors and can pay off good dividend in the World T20 coming up next year in October.
Author: S. M. Ali