Sun, Jun 24, 2012 - Page 19 News List

Kaneria gets life ban by English board

MATCH-FIXing:The ECB said Danish Kaneria was ‘a grave danger’ to cricket and that the former Pakistan spinner could have no further involvement in the English game

Reuters, LONDON

Former Pakistan and Essex leg-spinner Danish Kaneria was banned for life by the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) yesterday after being found guilty of corruption.

“We regard Danish Kaneria as a grave danger to the game of cricket and we must take every appropriate step to protect our game from his corrupt activities,” the board said in a statement.

The sanction means the 31-year-old is suspended from any involvement in the playing, organization or administration of any cricket under the jurisdiction of the ECB.

Kaneria was found guilty of encouraging or attempting to encourage Essex team mate Mervyn Westfield to underperform in a match in 2009, the board said.

The Pakistani reacted angrily and said he would appeal against the ban.

“I’m very upset about this decision,” he told Sky Sports television. “For what reason they have convicted me I do not know.”

“It is a very, very unfair decision. I’ve come all the way from Pakistan to say the truth. They don’t have any proof against me,” he added.

“I’m an honest man. I’ve been playing cricket with passion and love. I have done nothing wrong,” Kaneria said.

Westfield was asked to concede a set number of runs during his opening over in a county match against Durham in exchange for a payment of £6,000 (US$9,300). Kaneria was named in a London court in February as a go-between in a spot-fixing scandal that resulted in Westfield being jailed for four months.

The Pakistani, who took 261 wickets in 61 tests and also played in 18 one-day internationals, was described in the ECB ruling as having “shown no remorse and sought to cast blame on other plainly innocent persons.”

“[Kaneria] plainly betrayed the trust reposed in him in his dealings with fellow team mates and we regard his persistent efforts to recruit spot fixers as being a seriously aggravating factor in his case,” the board said.

International Cricket Council (ICC) chief executive Haroon Lorgat said he wanted players everywhere to heed lessons from the case.

“We hope this verdict provides further warning to any person who might, for whatever reason, contemplate corrupt activity within our sport,” he said in a statement.

“I reiterate, as I have on every occasion that I have spoken on this matter, the ICC has a zero-tolerance attitude towards corruption and that we and our member boards will use everything within our powers to ensure any hint of corrupt activity within the game is comprehensively investigated and, where appropriate, robustly prosecuted,” he said.

Since the scandal came to light following his arrest in 2010, Kaneria has not played for Pakistan. Westfield, who has been released from prison, pleaded guilty to the ECB charge of accepting money to underperform and was banned for five years backdated to Feb. 17.

However, he can participate in club cricket for the final two years of the suspension.

The ECB praised Westfield for his “courage” to testify, although his record will forever be tainted as the first English county cricketer to be convicted in court for spot-fixing.

The 24-year-old, who took 11 wickets in seven first-class matches, provided core evidence that was central to finding Kaneria guilty.

It has been a turbulent time for the international cricket community with former Pakistan captain Salman Butt released from prison in Britain on Thursday after serving seven months of a two-and-a-half-year term for involvement in a spot-fixing scam.

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