United Arab Emirates cricket team finds itself in the midst of yet another controversy after it emerged that its cricketer Ghulam Shabbir has left the squad and is reported to be in Pakistan. UAE are participating in the ICC T20 World Cup Qualifiers which they are hosting.
The development comes right after four UAE cricketers – Mohammad Naveed, Qadeer Ahmed, Shaiman Anwar and Ashfaq Ahmed – were provisionally suspended after Emirates Cricket Board charged them for breaching ICC’s anti-corruption code.
The UAE team manager Peter Kelly broke the news of Shabbir’s disappearance during their T20 World Cup qualifier against Hong Kong on Tuesday. Kelly revealed that the wicketkeeper-batsman didn’t turn up for a team meeting at 11 am ahead of the match.
“At 11am yesterday we had a team meeting, and Ghulam Shabbir did not show up for it,” Kelly was quoted in the National as saying. “He did not show up for the bus in the afternoon [when the team left for the Hong Kong match]. ECB are doing due diligence. We are obviously concerned for his well being. We went out of our way to contact any next of kin that we could, as well as any numbers we had for him.
He added, “We also searched hospitals to make sure he was OK. We also got people to go and check if he was at home. Since that point, we have managed to find out that he has left the country. What we do know is that he is safe, but we don’t know the reasons that he has gone.”
Kelly though clarified that Shabbir isn’t part of the ongoing corruption investigation, thus delinking any connection between his disappearance and the scandal.
“It (leaving unexpectedly) is out of his nature. We are unsure why he left. He was not a part of the anti-corruption investigation. He has travelled to Pakistan,” he said.