Qadeer Ahmed plans to appeal against ICC corruption charges that have seen him banned from cricket, but admits he did fail to report a “wrong approach”.
Three UAE players were charged by the ICC on Wednesday with a variety of breaches of cricket’s anti-corruption code.
Captain Mohammed Naveed, seam-bowler Qadeer, and Shaiman Anwar, the team’s leading batsman, have all been suspended from playing.
The trio were set to feature in the T20 World Cup Qualifier, starting in Abu Dhabi on Friday, but were all withdrawn from the UAE squad last Thursday as part of an ICC anti-corruption investigation.
Qadeer has been charged with six counts of breaching the code. They include “failing to disclose to the ACU [ICC’s anti-corruption unit] full details of any approaches or invitations received to engage in conduct that would amount to corrupt conduct under the code” in two series earlier this year.
Those were the one-day international series in Zimbabwe in April, which UAE lost 4-0, and the T20 series in Netherlands in August, which the national team won 4-0.
Qadeer was also charged with “disclosing inside information to Mehardeep Chhayakar in August 2019 in circumstances where he knew or should have known that the information might be used for betting purposes”.
Chhayakar, described by the ICC as a “participant in cricket in Ajman”, has also been charged by the ICC for “failing or refusing to cooperate” with the ACU investigation.
Qadeer’s other charges also relate to a failure to cooperate, as well as “obstructing or delaying an ACU investigation including by concealing information that may be relevant”.
He denies being obstructive, suggesting he found it difficult to communicate once his phone was confiscated as part of the investigation, but he does acknowledge failing to report an approach.
“First of all, I would like to say thanks to my family and my friends for trusting me,” Qadeer told The National.
“They are with me in my good times, and thankfully they are with me in my difficult times, because they know I didn’t do anything illegal.
“Regarding code breaches, I admit I failed to report a wrong approach to the ICC. I should have taken that seriously, and reported it to the [Emirates Cricket Board].
“In terms of the other breaches, for inside information and non-cooperation on things, I want to deny that. I will appeal to the ICC regarding the other breaches.”
The 33-year-old bowler is currently back in his native Pakistan, following a family bereavement.
Qadeer arrived in the UAE in 2011, having been recruited to the accounts department of a small firm, based largely on the fact he would play for their staff tape-ball cricket team.
He joined the domestic cricket scene after being spotted while a net bowler when England toured in 2012 – the first-time he had used a leather cricket ball. Since 2015, he has been a regular member of the national team squad.
“Alhamdulillah, I never, ever did anything corrupt in cricket,” Qadeer said.
“Financially, after playing four years of international cricket, me and my family are still in the same position, living in a rented house. I have not been involved in any illegal activity.”
The case of the national team trio is the latest in a number of anti-corruption cases that have involved figures related to UAE cricket.
“The board fully supports the ICC and the ICC Anti-Corruption Unit in their efforts, and denounces any activities of corruption,” the Emirates Cricket Board said in a statement.
The three players have until October 30 to respond to the ICC’s charges.