UAE cricketer Mohammed Naveed on ICC corruption charges: it is my mistake, I have let everybody down

Exclusive: Suspended fast bowler tells The National that he should have reported being approached by a 'fixer' as soon as it happened

Dubai, United Arab Emirates - January 31, 2019: UAE's captain Mohammad Naveed directs his field in the the match between the UAE and Nepal in an international T20 series. Thursday, January 31st, 2019 at ICC, Dubai. Chris Whiteoak/The National

Mohammed Naveed says he accepts that he has made a mistake that has “let everybody down”, after being charged with breaching cricket’s anti-corruption code.

The fast bowler was suspended by the ICC on Wednesday, along with fellow players Shaiman Anwar and Qadeer Ahmed, after an anti-corruption investigation that has left UAE cricket in disarray.

Naveed was charged with two offences as per the game’s anti-corruption code.

The first relates to “contriving, or being party to an agreement or effort to fix or contrive or otherwise influence improperly, the result, progress, conduct or any other aspect of matches in the upcoming ICC World T20 Qualifiers 2019,” according to an ICC statement.

The second relates to “failing to disclose to the ACU full details of any approaches or invitations received to engage in conduct in relation to the ICC World T20 Qualifiers 2019 that would amount to corrupt conduct under the code.”

Naveed accepts he made a mistake in not reporting an approach made to him by someone he describes as “a fixer”.

The 32-year-old bowler had met them after being assured he was an official representing a franchise in the T10 League.

He insists he ended the conversation as soon as he realised he had been misled, but admits he did not report the approach, as per the ICC’s anti-corruption protocol.

"I am very sincere about my game, I am very sincere about my career," Naveed told The National. "I have been successful for the UAE around the world, in leagues, for franchises. That is because I am very sincere about my game.

“Now this has happened, I feel guilty. Why did I not talk to the board, why did I not talk to the ICC? It is my mistake, and I feel guilty.

“My family is let down, my friends are let down. Everybody is let down. This was my mistake.”

Naveed had been due to captain the national team in the T20 World Cup Qualifier, which starts in Abu Dhabi on Friday.

The three players had been named in the UAE squad for the tournament, but were all withdrawn last Thursday evening, after anti-corruption officers met with them at the ICC Academy in Dubai.

Naveed and Shaiman are the UAE’s highest-ranked bowler and batsmen respectively, while Qadeer is a reliable seam bowler.

“I’m only scared of my God, not anybody else,” Naveed said. “I speak very truly. My passion is cricket, I love cricket, my life is cricket.

"I am a successful cricketer – not only in Associate cricket, but in all the world.

“Look at my ranking, look at my economy rate. My focus is only on cricket, not on being a bad boy.

“This is my career. I have been successful, because I only focus on my performance, not on bad people.”

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.