Kaneria named in spot-fixing scam
LONDON: Pakistan international spinner Danish Kaneria was named in court yesterday as being involved in a spot-fixing scam that led to the imprisonment of a former English county cricketer. Prosecutors in the case of former Essex bowler Mervyn Westfield, who was sentenced to four months in jail yesterday, said the player had been lured into the fix after an approach by Kaneria.
Danish Kaneria. Pics/AFP
The Old Bailey heard that Kaneria told Westfield he would be paid to concede a certain number of runs in a particular over. Prosecutor Nigel Peters QC said the deal emerged after another Essex player, Tony Palladino, showed Westfield "the most money he had ever seen."
Kaneria was arrested in connection with the case in 2010 but later released without charge. Westfield had admitted receiving �6,000 ($9,200) to bowl so that 12 runs would be scored in the first over of a 40-over match between Durham and Essex in September 2009, although in fact only 10 were scored.
This case took place against the backdrop of Pakistan players Salman Butt, Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Aamer being jailed in Britain last year for their role in a separate spot-fixing scandal in a Test match against England.
No charges yet
Kaneria's lawyer Farogh Naseem brushed aside Westfield's claims. "I think we can only take any step once the inquiry is finished," Naseem told AFP in Karachi. "It is Westfield's words against Kaneria and a lot will depend on what evidences he puts before the court against my client." Naseem reiterated that Kaneria had been cleared by the police.
"At the time of the police inquiry, Kaneria was not charged and cleared. The ICC (International Cricket Council) cleared him so we feel that Kaneria was discharged in the case," he said. The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) withdrew Kaneria after he was selected for the series against South Africa in October 2010 and has since not cleared him for selection, apparently waiting for the Westfield inquiry to be completed.
Kaneria's petition against the PCB to revive his career was dismissed by the Sindh High court in November last year and despite vowing to take the case to higher courts, Kaneria has not made any progress. Kaneria was allowed to play domestic cricket, however, and has represented Sindh in the ongoing Pentangular Cup in Pakistan.
"The PCB will wait for the final judgement in Westfield's case," PCB lawyer Taffazul Rizvi told AFP. "If some solid evidences are brought before the PCB, only then will we take action. At the moment there is a status quo in Kaneria's case. "Kaneria was not cleared by the integrity committee, which is required for every player to represent Pakistan."
Pakistan captain Misbah-ul Haq said he was saddened by Kaneria's implication in the case. "This is really very disappointing for Pakistan cricket. I wish that by the Almighty's grace such things will vanish from our cricket," said Misbah in Dubai on the eve of the third one-day international against England on Saturday. International Cricket Council (ICC) Chief Executive Haroon Lorgat in a statement said, "Although the ICC is not directly involved in this case, we have followed it closely. While the ICC takes no pleasure from anyone being sent to jail, it is a decision of the court which we support and I believe would act as a deterrent to anyone who is tempted to sully the good name of cricket."