Danish Kaneria Mocks Pakistan Cricket Board After Umar Akmal’s Ban Halved
Umar Akmal's ban will effectively run from February 2020 to August 2021 after the 30-year-old's sentence was reduced by independent adjudicator Faqir Mohammad Khokhar. (AFP)

Former Pakistan spinner Danish Kaneria, who has been trying get his life ban for spot-fixing lifted, on Thursday said PCB’s decision to reduce Umar Akmal’s suspension for failing to report corrupt approaches smacks of double standards.

The likes of Mohammad Amir, Mohammad Asif and Salman Butt, who too were found guilty of spot-fixing like Kaneria, have been allowed back into the PCB fold. In fact, Amir is a regular member of the national team.

“You call it zero tolerance policy for corruption. Umar was proved guilty but still his ban has been halved. They showed compassion in his case. Amir, Asif, Salman too were allowed to come back, why leave me out?” he asked while talking to PTI.

“Why don’t they show the same compassion in my case? They say I talk about my religion (he is a Hindu) but what do I say when the discrimination is crystal clear. I am just going by simple logic,” he said from Karachi.

Independent adjudicator Faqir Mohammad Khokhar stated in his order on Tuesday that the case against Akmal was proved to the hilt but he reduced the sentence from three years to 18 months out of compassion.

“Umar has been involved in controversy for the major part of his career due to disciplinary issues. If there is sympathy for him, where is the same sympathy for me? Did he bribe someone to get this done?” asked Kaneria, who was banned by the ECB in 2012.

“They say I play the religion card. You tell me which Hindu player has played for Pakistan after me. No one. All these years they did not find one Hindu who was good enough. I find that hard to believe,” said the 39-year-old, who is only the second Hindu to play for Pakistan.

Kaneria took 261 wickets in 61 Tests, the most by a spinner in Pakistan’s cricket history.

In June, he had appealed to the PCB to lift the life ban imposed on him in 2013. However, the PCB responded by asking him to approach the ECB to get his ban revoked.

“Article 6.8 of the ECB Anti-Corruption Code, which is applicable in this case, clearly states only the chair of the anti-corruption tribunal, which has imposed a period of ineligibility on a player, had the discretion to permit the player to participate (in club or domestic cricket),” the PCB said earlier this month.

“As such, you are advised to approach the ECB as per Article 6.8 of the ECB Anti-Corruption Code,” it said.

The PCB imposed the punishment on Kaneria after he lost an appeal on the life ban slapped by the ECB in 2012.

The leg-spinner was found guilty of spot-fixing alongside Mervyn Westfield while playing for English county Essex against Durham in 2009.