Former Worcestershire batsman Adrian Shankar faces a police investigation over suggestions that he may have provided false information to obtain a contract with the county.
Shankar was signed by Worcestershire on a two-year deal only two weeks ago but that deal and his registration were terminated on Thursday May 26.
“It quickly became evident that documents provided in order to satisfy the club’s obligations to the England and Wales Cricket Board were unacceptable,” Worcestershire said in a statement.
“This documentation has now been passed to West Mercia Police for investigation and no further comment will be made by the club while the investigation is taking place.”
A spokesman for West Mercia Police confirmed that officers are now investigating ‘Shankargate’. “We have been informed by Worcestershire County Cricket Club about this issue and the information has been passed to officers which is now being looked at,” she said. No charges have been made.
At the centre of the police investigation will be Shankar’s alleged participation in matches in Sri Lanka last winter which Worcestershire claimed had persuaded them to sign him. But scorecards and details of any matches in the Mercantile League competition are conspicuous by their absence from all reputable cricket websites and archives.
There is also confusion about Shankar’s age. Worcestershire were led to believe that was 26, but most cricket publications clearly state that he was born on May 7, 1982.
Much of Shankar’s cricketing career is shrouded in mystery. What is beyond dispute is that he played for Cambridge University from 2002 to 2005 and was on Lancashire’s staff in 2009 and 2010 without making a first team appearance before being released midway through last season.
He put himself up for offer at last winter’s IPL auction at a price of £20,000 but went unsold.
Worcestershire signed Shankar having watched him bat only in the nets and pitched him straight into their first team.
He was dismissed for a third ball duck in last week’s Clydesdale Bank 40 defeat by Middlesex at Lord’s and then batted 20 overs for a defiant unbeaten 10 on his County Championship debut against Durham before he damaged a knee in the warm-up the following morning and took no further part in the match.
Shankar’s registration with Bedfordshire, for whom he played Minor Counties cricket in 2006, has also been terminated on the instructions of the England and Wales Cricket Board.
“The ECB have told us not to make any comment on Adrian Shankar,” said Bedfordshire secretary Philip August.