KARACHI: Pakistan’s Test player Danish Kaneria said he was disappointed with the continuous delay for his appeal against a life ban to be heard by the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB).
Kaneria had been in England for the past several weeks but the hearing has been delayed due to the non-cooperation of key witness Mervyn Westfield – Kaneria’s former Essex teammate.
The new date for the appeal has been set for April 22 after Kaneria’s lawyers challenged the absence of Westfield, who stayed away from the original appeal hearing, held on December 10 last year in London.
“I’ve come all the way from Pakistan to seek justice but it is strange that Westfield isn’t showing up to be cross-questioned by my lawyers and an independent panel,” Kaneria told The Express Tribune. “I’ve learnt that this new date of April 22 is provisional and not confirmed which is creating problems for me. We’ve been told that Westfield would be sent a legal notice through the high court to appear for the hearing.”
Kaneria’s legal team has raised objections on the continued absence of Westfield from the appeal hearing. Westfield had his testimony recorded before a crown court in London early last year, which led to the ECB disciplinary panel imposing a life ban on Kaneria from playing in England.
The player was also suspended by the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) pending the outcome of the appeal hearing as he was accused by Westfield for introducing him to a bookmaker.
“Cricket is my life and I’ve been banned for life which has really unsettled me and my family. I hope that justice will be served and I’ll be able to play for Pakistan again as I haven’t done anything wrong.”
Kaneria had appealed against the ban after the ECB panel branded him as a ‘grave danger’ to the game after finding him guilty of encouraging or attempting to encourage Westfield to underperform in an English county match in 2009.
The leg-spinner has captured 261 wickets in 61 Tests and was Pakistan’s ace spinner in his playing days until Saeed Ajmal replaced him.
The 32-year-old said it has been difficult for him to be restricted at home and watching Pakistan team on television sets getting thrashed by South Africa. He explained that he had performed against South Africa at their home ground and it was difficult for him to digest the national team’s continuous defeat.
Meanwhile, he expressed his wish to be cleared and said he is already thinking of forming a deadly partnership with Ajmal.
“Ajmal is the best spinner in the world right now, I want to come back and form a deadly partnership with him. It would be great experience to bowl with him in tandem.”
Published in The Express Tribune, February 22nd, 2013.