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UAE wicketkeeper Ghulam Shabber flees to Pakistan amidst corruption scandal

Shabber played for UAE against Oman on October 18.

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Ghulam Shabber of UAE
Ghulam Shabber of UAE. (Photo Source: Twitter)

UAE have suffered yet another setback after the recent corruption scandal as their wicketkeeper Ghulam Shabber has absconded from the Emirates squad in the midst of their ICC T20 World Cup Qualifier campaign. As per reports, Shabber has fled to Pakistan for reasons known only to him. The wicketkeeper’s absence was noticed when he did not attend the team meeting on Monday (October) before the game against Hong Kong.

The absence and no prior explanation from Shabber led to an investigation into his whereabouts. According to The Nation, Shabber was located in Pakistan. UAE team manager Peter Kelly confirmed that the team-management only knows that the player has left the country and is fine. He also said that the officials are trying to find out the reason behind Shabber’s decision to leave the country.

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“We do know he is OK, and he has left the country. That is all we know so far. As to the reasons why, that is what we are trying to get to the bottom of,” Kelly told The Nation.

Shabber’s action raises suspicion

While it is still unclear as to why Ghulam Shabber fled to Pakistan, the recent turn of events does raise suspicion of match-fixing. UAE have been rocked by the scandal with as many as four players pulling out of the ongoing T20 World Cup qualifiers. The Emirates squad has now been reduced to just 13 players after skipper Mohammad Naveed, batsman Shaiman Anwar and seamer Qadeer Ahmed were charged with match-fixing offences.

A local player named Mehardeep Chhayakar is also facing the same charges. UAE faced the setback just days ahead of the first match in the tournament. On Monday, the Emirates Cricket Board provisionally suspended another player Ashfaq Ahmed. Meanwhile, Kelly has insisted that Shabber “was not a part of the anti-corruption investigation”.

“It is out of his nature, and we are unsure why he left, and why he chose to not tell people,” Kelly said. “He was not a part of the anti-corruption investigation.”

“For the past 24 hours or so, we have been trying to find out if he is OK. We have managed to get to the point where we are. Where we go from here, we [don’t know]. We do know he is OK, and he has left the country. That is all we know so far,” he added.

Shabber played for UAE in their tournament-opener against Oman on October 18 which turned out to be his last for the team to date. UAE, meanwhile, have won two and lost two games in the tournament so far.

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