LAHORE - The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) on Friday fined five of its cricketers USD 5,000 each for participating in an unauthorised Twenty20 tournament alongside banned spinner Danish Kaneria in the United States.

The PCB spokesman said that fast bowler Wahab Riaz, all-rounder Abdul Razzaq, middle order batsman Fawad Alam, opening batsmen Nasir Jamshed and Shahzeb Hasan all were fined Rs 500,000 (USD 5,000) each for competing in the last month's Friendship Cup T20 Tournament in Houston.

"After thorough investigations and after players admitting that they had participated in an event that under the ICC Regulations is considered disapproved cricket, their contention of not being aware of the NOC requirement was not accepted by the Committee, which recommended that each of them should be fined Rs 500,000," said the PCB spokesman.

The five offenders featured in an unauthorised series of Twenty20 matches in Houston, Texas, last month without the permission of the PCB. Kaneria was banned for life in 2012 for spot-fixing in a county game in England, which under International Cricket Council (ICC) rules effectively bars him from playing anywhere in the world. Kaneria played for Houston Eagles while the Pakistani players were playing for rival team Boom Boom Blasters.

The PCB investigated the matter and interviewed the players last month, when a three-member committee recommended the fines. The committee, however, cleared PCB marketing director Badar Rafae of any wrongdoing but with a reprimand. Rafae was pictured with Kaneria during these matches. "As for the Director Marketing, the committee concluded that he was neither involved in the organization nor inviting players for the event. He just briefly attended one match only on invitation of the organisers. Alam appeared for Pakistan in the Asia Cup in Bangladesh in February-March while Razzaq, Jamshed and Riaz lost their places last year. Hasan played for Pakistan in the 2009 World Twenty20 which they won in England.

"His subsequent photograph with Kaneria was a case of poor judgment, there was nothing to suggest that he conducted himself in any inappropriate manner. However, in the committee's opinion, he should have shown better judgment and avoided being photographed with a banned player." Hence, an official reprimand is recommended, he said.

The PCB committee was made up of comprised of domestic cricket director Intikhab Alam, security manager Azam Khan and international cricket manager Usman Wahla. The committee said Kaneria did not appear before it. "Kaneria is serving a life ban and did not appear at the hearing nor did he respond to notice in writing. the committee referred his case to the PCB Integrity Committee for further suitable action against him."

Kaneria earlier this month lost his appeal against the life ban in a London high court, but has since vowed to fight on in higher courts. Three other Pakistani players - Salman Butt, M Asif and M Aamer - are serving five years bans over a separate 2010 spot-fixing case.

Agencies add: USACA issued a memo on May 14 warning its players to not participate in unsanctioned tournaments like the Friendship Cup that may include players who have bans imposed by other national boards. However, two USACA national selectors served as coaches or managers at the event and at least 33 current or former USA national team players also played in the USA Friendship Cup. Among them are two USA players who played on the same team as Kaneria, as well as Shahzaib Hasan and former West Indies bowler Jermaine Lawson.

Hasan was also listed on the same Houston Eagles official roster alongside Kaneria at the US Open T20 in Florida in December. Apart from Lawson, there were also seven other former West Indies internationals plus 11 current or former Canada national team players who played in the Texas event.

"All USACA regions, leagues, clubs and players are advised to be careful participating and playing in tournaments involving international players," a USACA statement said. "In a recent incident an ICC and PCB banned player participated in an unsanctioned tournament in the USA. USACA is a strong supporter of the ICC's policies in this area and we are obligated to support and help enforce these policies as part of our ongoing membership.

"Any tournament involving USACA members with international and national US players must be sanctioned by USACA. In tournaments involving international players, those players participate under the control of their national country boards and the ICC, and various rules and regulations have to be followed per a formal event sanctioning agreement.

"All USACA regions, leagues, clubs and players should take great care to be assured that any tournament they participate in with international players have the correct sanctions. US national players should be aware that the ICC can impose penalties and prohibit them playing in ICC tournaments if they are found playing in unsanctioned tournaments involving international players."