Pakistan’s most prolific Test spinner Danish Kaneria has forwarded his plea to the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) in order to get one last hearing on his spot-fixing case which resulted in a life ban.
“It will save me, my life, and whatever cricket is left in me,” said Kaneria, while talking to the Mid-Day. “I am living on my last savings. I do not know how long I will survive. I can even teach young Indians the art of spin, can’t I? Why can’t they call me? I am one of them.”
Kaneria is only the second-ever Hindu to play for Pakistan at the highest level — the first was his wicket-keeping cousin Anil Dalpat — and was something of a poster-child for the country’s minorities until his ban.
The 35-year-old believes he has exhausted all options in Pakistan and is being shunned aside only because he is a Hindu — a minority in the country.
“Every avenue has dried up for me in Pakistan; I seem to have no takers for my appeals from the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB). I am dying,” said Kaneria. “It is because I am a Hindu, a minority in Pakistan. It is because I refused to admit my involvement in spot-fixing when the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) charged me. I want to be heard, is it very difficult to hear me out?”
The leg-spinner added that International Cricket Council (ICC) chief executive Dave Richardson told him that the world body acted on the decision taken by the ECB and that is why they will not entertain his plea.
“I told him he was biased, many have been pardoned, why not me,” questioned Kaneria. “The Scotland Yard found no evidence against me; the ECB reacted on the basis of the confessions of one cricketer. Look at the way the PCB has handled Mohammad Amir’s case. What about me? Isn’t that unfair?”
When told that Amir admitted his guilt and responded well to the rehabilitation program, Kaneria said, “He did [so] because he was involved, I didn’t because I was not. It’s almost like punishing me for introducing Mervyn Westfield to Anu Bhatt [an Indian businessman suspected of involvement in illegal betting].”
Kaneria, who has taken 261 wicket for Pakistan in 61 Tests, said he has been living a life which resembled a house arrest and the BCCI is now his only hope towards an honourable exit.
“See what I have been reduced to by the ECB, the ICC and the PCB. I cannot play any cricket falling under the ambit of PCB. I cannot visit a PCB ground, nor can I train at their facilities. I cannot even meet my former cricketer friends. It’s like living under house arrest,” said Kaneria, who still trains for a few hours at the Karachi Parsi Institute Ground with some locals.
“Only the BCCI can save me. [BCCI secretary] Anurag Thakur should consider my case and urge [president] Shashank Manohar to speak to the ICC. Lift the ban, help me get an honourable exit.”
In a later update, Kaneria told the Press Trust of India that Indian media exaggerated his comments.
“I don’t want to make any comments but things have been overstated and misinterpreted in the Indian media. Yes I am very frustrated, hurt and against the wall but I remain a Pakistani,” said Kaneria.
A disciplinary panel of the ECB banned Kaneria in June 2012 after he was found guilty of corruption while playing for Essex in a limited-overs match in 2009 and imposed a fine of £100,000 on the cricketer.
He lost his second and final appeal against the penalty in August 2014.