Ghulam Shabber says he would cooperate with the ICC officials if an anti-corruption investigation is probed, but denied it had anything to do with him leaving the UAE. The wicketkeeper left the country without providing any explanation earlier this week, in the middle of the T20 World Cup Qualifier.
Ghulam Shabber says he would cooperate with the ICC official if an anti-corruption investigation is probed, but denied it had anything to do with him leaving the UAE in the middle of the T20 World Cup Qualifier, after just two matches of the tournament. The wicketkeeper-batsman left the country without providing any explanation earlier this week. Shabber says, despite having credit card debt and owing money to three players who helped him in difficult times, he was so desperate to leave that he borrowed more money for his flight to Pakistan.
It has been widely speculated since he left that the 33-year-old is part of the corruption probe that had already seen four UAE players suspended from playing. Mohammed Naveed, Qadeer Ahmed, and Shaiman Anwar were banned after being charged by the ICC with a variety of breaches of cricket’s anti-corruption code. Although no formal charges have been made against Ashfaq Ahmed, the Emirates Cricket Board (ECB) also provisionally suspended the opening batsman after two Qualifier matches. However, Shabber pointed out that his decision to leave was driven by frustration at how he was treated within cricket here.
“There are no charges against me,” Shabber told The National. “I have emailed the board with my decision that I have resigned. I have retired from cricket.
“If there is something with regards to anti-corruption, I am ready to cooperate in Pakistan. But I have decided cricket is not in my future. I have left cricket behind, and want to move on with my life with my family. Whatever I can do in my native city, in whatever business, I will do that.”
Shabber had been an integral part of the national team since being one of the first batches of centrally-contracted professional players in 2016. He initially arrived in the country after being frustrated due to the lack of opportunities in his homeland. He played three matches in an eight-year first-class career in Pakistan.
He says he has now returned as he felt his basic salary of Dh6,000 per month was neither commensurate with being an international sportsman, nor enough to live on which made him doubt whether it was financially better for him to play or move back to his country to be with his family. When Shabber was omitted from the side after the defeat to Oman in the opening match of the Qualifier, he made his decision to leave.
“I understand people saying I am being investigated for corruption, but I have left because I am unhappy with all of this,” he said. “This has been building, building and building. I saw this tournament [the Qualifier] as a very good opportunity for me. Every time a tournament comes, it felt like I might be selected, I might not be selected. There has been a lot of pressure on me.
“This happened in the first game as well. I didn’t get runs, and they dropped me. I came home as I wanted to be with my family. I left my luggage [at the team hotel]. I don’t want to see my kit, and I don’t want to play cricket again.”