A day after former Essex teammate Merwyn Westfield was sentenced for four months, Danish Kaneria – with his integrity questioned after being named as the middle-man in court – has broken his silence and released an official reply maintaining his innocence.
"Kaneria has previously been interviewed by the British Police in connection with the same incident and had been released without being charged," read the statement released by his lawyer Farogh Naseem. "The Crown Prosecution Service reiterated to the Court that after intensive investigations the British Police concluded that there was no evidence on which to charge Kaneria. He fully co-operated with the British Police and the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) during all these investigations.
"At the Old Bailey, Westfield's barrister suggested that Kaneria was involved with Westfield and had somehow persuaded him to participate in spot-fixing. Not only is this vehemently denied but it is also not supported by the investigations conducted by the Police."
Kaneria case still open in the PCB
Meanwhile, the PCB has contacted the English and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) on the matter. The PCB's integrity committee has repeatedly asked Kaneria to provide tapes of his interrogation by Essex Police.
"Since the case has finished, we can now get the tapes from England according to their law. We will present them to the board as soon as we get our hands on them," confirmed Danish's older brother.
PCB's legal adviser Taffazzul Rizvi said that Kaneria's case was still open as the committee awaited the tapes.
"Kaneria will need to appear before the committee again because he's the one who needs to clear his name and submit the tapes," said Rizvi. "Kaneria can still be called by the English authorities for a trial but it remains to be seen whether this will happen or not."
Leg-spinner leads Sindh in Pentangular Cup
Making his maiden appearance in this season's Pentangular Cup, veteran Aamer Sajjad pounced on the opportunity to slam an unbeaten ton for Punjab in the final against Sindh, leaving his side in control with 266 for three on the opening day.
Punjab suffered an early blow after opting to bat when opener Mohammad Yasin was dismissed for 10 off Tabish Khan.
At 11 for one, 31-year-old Sajjad joined Test opener Taufeeq Umar, also playing his first Pentangular Cup match of the season, leading Punjab. The duo utilised good batting conditions and the absence of Mohammad Sami to pile on the agony for the tourists.
Umar (51 off 93) was snapped up by leg-spinner Danish Kaneria after a 102-run partnership, only to be replaced by the in-form Usman Salahuddin who carried on his good form by scoring 57. Kaneria broke that partnership as well, picking up Salahuddin after he had scored a 141-ball 57.
The Sindh captain blamed Sami's absence for his side's poor display with the ball.
"Sami had been the difference for us," Kaneria told The Express Tribune. "Now we're left with the medium pace of Tabish and Tanvir Ahmed. We'll have to work extra hard to bowl them out."
Published in The Express Tribune, February 19th, 2012.