Danish Kaneria admits fixing guilt, apologises to Mervyn Westfield
Danish Kaneria is Pakistan's fourth most successful bowler in Test cricket. @Getty

After six years of denial, the former Pakistan legspinner Danish Kaneria has admitted his role in the spot-fixing scandal that saw his former county team-mate Mervyn Westfield jailed for cheating, the Daily Mail has reported.

Kaneria, Pakistan’s fourth most successful bowler in Test cricket, was quoted as saying in an interview to Al Jazeera: “My name is Danish Kaneria and I admit that I was guilty of the two charges brought against me by the England and Wales Cricket Board in 2012. I want to apologise to Mervyn Westfield, my Essex team-mates, my Essex cricket club, my Essex cricket fans. I say sorry to Pakistan.”

Former Essex fast bowler Westfield, 30, served eight weeks in prison and was banned from professional cricket for five years in 2012 after pleading guilty to accepting £6,000 from an illegal bookmaker to concede 12 runs in his first over of a 40-over domestic game versus Durham in 2009. He conceded only 10, but still took the money.

Kaneria was the man who introduced Westfield to Anu Bhatt, the illegal bookmaker. However, he escaped prosecution after English legal authorities decided there was not enough evidence. He was handed a life ban by the Pakistan Cricket Board in 2013.

“I want to ask people’s forgiveness,” said Kaneria, who took 261 wickets in 61 Tests. “Cricket has given me so much in my life and I want to give something back. If the ECB and ICC and other bodies would give me a second chance I can help to educate young people in cricket, teach them that if you do wrong you are finished like me.”

The 37-year-old cited the ailing health of his father, who passed away  in 2013 after suffering from cancer, as one reason why he continued to deny his role in the fixing case.

“His health was getting worse and worse,” he said. “I didn’t have the courage to face him and tell him that I was wrong. He was a very, very proud guy. Very, very proud of me and what I did, representing Pakistan, representing my country. I want to apologise to my father, who has always been a role model for me.”

The Daily Mail quoted Westfield as having accepted Kaneria’s apology. “This whole chapter of spot-fixing changed my life, but I have never blamed anyone for the terrible mistake I made,” said the fast bowler who played seven first-class matches and eight List A games for Essex between 2005 and 2009. “However, opening up about my wrongdoing and telling the truth allowed me to move on. I hope that Danish finds peace and closure by doing this, and I wish him all the best for the future.”