Danish Kaneria to appeal against life ban

It was confirmed that Danish Kaneria had been warned for his links with bookmaker Anu Bhatt by the ICC’s Anti Corruption and Security Unit (ACSU) back in 2008 AFP

London: Jun 23, 2012

Insisting that he is innocent, Pakistan leg-spinner Danish Kaneria said he will appeal against the “unfair” lifetime ban slapped on him by the England and Wales Cricket Board for his role in spot-fixing.

Kaneria said he was upset at the decision as he believed there was no evidence against him.

“They (ECB) don’t have any proof against me. I don’t know why they are saying this (“grave danger to cricket”, etc). I will definitely be doing an appeal,” he told ‘Sky Sports News’.

Earlier, the England and Wales Cricket Board banned Kaneria for his involvement in the Mervyn Westfield spot-fixing case.

Apart from Kaneria, the ECB also imposed a five-year ban on Westfield but he will be able to play in the final two years of his punishment.

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

“It is a very, very unfair decision against me. I’ve come all the way from Pakistan to say the truth,” he said.

He said he was an “honest man” and people trusted him.

“I’ve been playing cricket with passion and love. I have done nothing wrong,” he said.

The ECB said Kaneria it regards 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.”

“Accordingly, we are unanimously of the view that the only appropriate sanction in relation to both charges is one of suspension for life and that is the sanction we impose.

“This means from today Danish Kaneria is suspended from any involvement in the playing, organisation or administration of any cricket under the jurisdiction of the ECB,” the ECB said in a statement.

Both players were charged last month in the wake of Westfield’s imprisonment.

Kaneria was implicated in spot-fixing during Westfield’s trial at London’s Central Criminal Court but denied the allegations.

The disciplinary panel, which consisted of Gerard Elias QC, David Gabbitass and Jamie Dalrymple, concluded, “Danish Kaneria knowingly induced or encouraged Mervyn Westfield not to perform on his merits in the Durham match.”

Westfield, a former Essex fast bowler, was jailed for four months in January after he admitted underperforming in a Pro40 match against Durham in September 2009.

Kaneria, Essex’s overseas player for several seasons, was named by the judge at the Old Bailey as the orchestrator of the plot but he was never charged by the police, on the grounds of insufficient evidence.

It was confirmed that Kaneria had been warned for his links with bookmaker Anu Bhatt by the ICC’s Anti Corruption and Security Unit (ACSU) back in 2008 from which Alan Peacock, the senior investigator, provided evidence.

The panel was highly critical of Kaniera’s evidence.

“We consider that in many respects the evidence of Danish Kaneria simply does not stand up to scrutiny and is plainly lies.

The tribunal ruled that there was sufficient evidence that Bhatt was the “Asian businessmen” involved in setting up the deal with Kaneria and Westfield.

Summing up, the panel said of Kaneria: “We utterly reject his account of the telephone calls and texts to and from Anu Bhatt during the vital days in question. Analysis of the length, sequence and timing of these calls simply does not permit of the innocent explanations given by Kaneria.

“If, as we find, he is lying about these calls and texts, there can only be one logical reason – to tell the truth would be damning,” they further stated.

The Pakistan Cricket Board have indicated that they will honour any sanctions handed out by the ECB to Kaneria. (PTI)

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