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Infidelity claim puts India bowler Shami’s contract on hold

Mohammad Shami described the accusations as “completely false”. © AFP/File / GIANLUIGI GUERCIA

NEW DELHI, India, Mar 8 – India’s cricket board has declined to renew fast bowler Mohammad Shami’s contract pending an investigation into “unsavoury” allegations that he cheated on his wife.

Shami, who represented India during the tour of South Africa in January, has dismissed the accusations of infidelity as “part of a big conspiracy” to defame him.

The Board of Control for Cricket in India dropped Shami from a list of contracted players unveiled Wednesday, which saw skipper Virat Kohli and other top Test players awarded salaries just above $1 million.

A supervisory committee overseeing BCCI affairs said the allegations against Shami put them in a difficult position and that his contract was on hold pending review.

“We are in a bit of Catch 22,” Vinod Rai, chairman of the committee, told cricket website ESPNcricinfo.

“Ordinarily you would distinguish and say that is a personal issue and the contract is a professional issue.

“But someone could easily point out and say this allegation is an unsavoury one and you are still rewarding him.”

A source from the BCCI confirmed the board’s position when contacted by AFP.

Shami’s wife Hasin Jahan, a former model, went public Tuesday with a series of messages that Shami, 27, allegedly sent to women during their four-year marriage.

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She also accused the cricketer, whom she married in 2014, of domestic violence.

India media reported that Jahan went to the police in Kolkata but did not file an official report against her husband.

Shami vented his frustration at his wife’s accusations and sought to clear his record.

“What is being said about my personal life is completely false,” he wrote on Twitter on Wednesday.

“It’s definitely a part of a big conspiracy against me. This is just an attempt to defame me.”

The board elevated Kohli, Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Jasprit Bumrah to a new “A+” category for the highest salaried players.

Former captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni, Cheteshwar Pujara and Ravichandran Ashwin were placed in the next grouping and will receive an annual salary of $777,000.

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