• Rough the ball with a patch of sandpaper: One-year ban for three players.

    Cop to failing to report bookie approaches: One-year-ban. One player.

    The ICC has warned off Bangladesh’s best player, Shakib Al Hasan. He is the Test and T20I captain for Bangladesh, so the ICC got two for the price of one. Does banning one all-rounder equate to three batters?

    ICC did hand him a two-year ban, but the second year is suspended so long as Al Hasan meets the conditions of the sanction.

    Does that mean he is free to make cricket punts?

    The ban encompasses all cricket, not merely some cricket.

    The ICC determined that Al Hasan was in breach of a section of the code that says players must report approaches with the intent of gaining inside information to the ICC.

    There were three incidents involving a certain alleged corruptor named Deepak Aggarwal over a period of several months when Shakib was playing an ODI tri-series in January and again when he was playing IPL cricket for Sunrisers Hyderabad.

    Shakib Al Hasan will be free to resume at the end of October 2020, provided he satisfies the conditions of attending anti-corruption education and/or rehabilitation programs.

    Agrawal is free to continue indefinitely.

    Shakib’s ban comes at the latter stages of his career. True, cricketers can play well into their 30s, but only in certain instances can players persist beyond 35.

    Bangladesh Cricket Board President Nazmul Hassan (note the different spelling of the surname) issued all the conciliatory words required, saying that the BCB was “Shocked and extremely disappointed that an experienced player like Shakib” had failed to report. “We hope he will come back as a better and wiser cricketer and serve Bangladesh for many more years” when his sanction ends,” he said.

    Aussie punters need to be on the lookout the next time one of the bookies dangles a free bets promotion, as the potential of a one-year punting ban is a possible consequence.

    The larger question in our minds is, “When did the action off the pitch get better than the action on the pitch?”