12:00 AM, October 13, 2012 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, October 13, 2012

Ex-captains bat for Shah

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Naimul Karim

Investigation regarding the former Bangladesh ICC Panel Umpire, Nadir Shah, may not have officially begun as yet. However, the umpire, who recently found himself at the centre of a match-fixing controversy--following a sting operation by an Indian television channel-- has received widespread support from former Bangladeshi cricket captains. The general consensus amongst numerous ex-captains was that the footage aired on India TV could have been 'distorted' and that it didn't provide a strong enough evidence to convict Shah.
Former captain and chief selector, Faruque Ahmed was of the opinion that the discussion between Shah and the undercover journalists, seemed 'extremely casual' for a match-fixing negotiation.
"He (Shah) looked like he had a few drinks and in my opinion the discussion displayed on TV was just a small portion of the many talks that they had. On the whole the footage looked a little suspicious" said Ahmed.
Shah, who was one of the two Bangladeshi umpires contacted by the television channel, was shown to be willing to give doctored decisions in lieu of money, in the video.
"We played a lot of cricket together in the early days. Nadir might have been a little undisciplined while playing cricket… he came to the ground late now and then, but his umpiring career was spot on," said Ahmed.
He further stated that it was Nadir's carefree attitude that got him into trouble.
Echoing Ahmed's views, former captain Roquibul Hassan, described Nadir to be a 'highly talkative person' who often got 'carried away'. "Even if he's found not guilty, he has seriously damaged his sense of responsibility as an international match official," said Hassan.
He further believed that the interview was conducted with an aim to spoil the outlook of Bangladeshi umpires. "The very fact that the interviews, which were taken in August, were released a day before the ICC meeting, itself seems very suspicious," added the former captain.
Former wicketkeeper and Captain Khaled Mashud claimed that Shah's wordings in the video were 'confusing and could be misdirected'. He shared views similar to that of the more senior captains and said that Shah was respected by players both on and off the field.
"Whenever there was a match between two big clubs, officials always opted for Nadir Shah because they trusted him. His background is as such, that it's difficult to believe that he would have accepted the money," said Mashud.
All the former captains, however, stated that Shah, if found guilty should receive the highest possible penalty. "The board should learn to handle these issues with a firm hand," said Faruque Ahmed. The former chief selector was also of the opinion that the board was lenient with Nasir Jamshed, the Pakistani player who was reportedly involved in spot-fixing during the first edition of the Bangladesh Premier League.

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