A day after disgraced former captain Salman Butt was released from a UK jail, another Pakistan cricketer Danish Kaneria was handed a life-time ban by the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) from all cricket under its jurisdiction.
Following a four-day hearing that investigated allegations of spot-fixing during the 2009 season, the ECB disciplinary committee handed out the verdict to Pakistan’s highest wicket-taking leg-spinner. The ECB ban is expected to be honoured by all other boards, including the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB), as per the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) protocol which means the Test cricketer will not be allowed to play competitive cricket at any level.
However, according to an official close to Kaneria, the cricketer was expected to file an appeal against the ban.
The ECB found the spinner guilty of two offences — corruption and bringing the game into disrepute. Kaneria’s former Essex teammate Mervy Westfield, who was found guilty of one offence, was given a five-year ban although he will be eligible to play club cricket after three years.
Kaneria attended the hearing along with his lawyer Farogh Nasim while PCB’s legal adviser Tafazzul Rizvi also followed the proceedings as the board’s observer. The spinner, who played 61 Tests and 18 One-Day Internationals, was arrested along with Westfield for spot-fixing in a game against Durham in 2009. The Pakistan cricketer, however, was released by the Essex Police without any charge.
But the 31-year old was accused of being a go-between in the case and pressurising Westfield to under-perform. Westfield pleaded guilty and received a four-month jail sentence. The ECB disciplinary panel also said that Kaneria acted as a recruiter for Anu Bhatt, an Indian businessman who was allegedly involved in illegal betting.
Kaneria pleads innocence
Meanwhile, Kaneria maintained his innocence but the ECB refused to accept his evidence terming it ‘plainly lies’ and added, that ‘it had no reasonable doubt he influenced Westfield.
“We regard [Danish] Kaneria as a grave danger to the game of cricket,” said the ECB panel. The leg-spinner’s case was also pending before the PCB’s integrity committee which was not giving clearance to the bowler for selection in the national team due to the county case. Kaneria, who has not played for Pakistan since August 2010, also challenged the PCB at the Sindh High Court seeking clearance.
PCB, other boards may uphold ban
While the PCB was to give its version, an official close to the case said the PCB may also stop Kaneria from playing domestic cricket.
“Most likely that will be the case,” the official told The Express Tribune. “We sent our legal consultant [Rizvi] to see that he gets a proper chance to present his case and that was the case.”
Published In The Express Tribune, June 23rd, 2012.
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