ECB finds Danish Kaneria, Mervyn Westfield guilty in spot-fixing

Danish Kaneria, who is Pakistan’s most successful Test spinner with 261 wickets in 61 matches, has not been selected to play for Pakistan since September, 2010 as there are doubts over his integrity AFP

London: Jun 22, 2012

Former Pakistan leg-spinner Danish Kaneria was branded a “liar” after being found guilty of match-fixing offences relating to his involvement in the Mervyn Westfield case by an England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) disciplinary panel on Friday.

“We consider that in many respects the evidence of Danish Kaneria simply does not stand up to scrutiny and is plainly lies,” the panel’s statement said.

The statement added: “The panel will now consider the appropriate sanction against both players and a decision is expected later today (Friday).”

Westfield was jailed for four months in February after admitting he accepted money to under-perform during a Pro40 match between Essex and Durham in 2009.

The now 24-year-old Westfield named Kaneria — arrested with him in 2010 but released without charge — as the link between bookmakers and players.

And the ECB panel agreed, saying: “We are left in no reasonable doubt that Danish Kaneria knowingly induced or encouraged Mervyn Westfield not to perform on his merits in the Durham match.”

Kaneria was found guilty by the ECB of two charges.

Firstly, he “induced or encouraged, or attempted to induce or encourage, Mervyn Westfield not to perform on his merits, that is, to deliberately concede a minimum number of runs in his first over of the match between Essex and Durham.”

And secondly, he was also found guilty of bringing cricket into disrepute “by inducing or encouraging Mervyn Westfield not to perform on his merits”.

Westfield was charged by a three-man panel chaired by lawyer Gerard Elias and featuring retired former England one-day international bowler Jamie Dalrymple with bringing cricket into disrepute, a charged the seamer accepted.

The panel said Kaneria, by his own admission, had introduced Westfield in a nightclub to Arun or Anu Bhatt an Indian businessman who, prior to November 2007, had come to the notice of the Anti Corruption and Security Unit (ACSU) of the International Cricket Council as “allegedly being heavily involved in illegal betting”.

They added they rejected as “nonsensical”, Kaneria’s claim his invitation to Bhatt to attend Dukes Nightclub in Chelmsford, Essex, was in order to keep him at arms length or similarly that obtaining tickets for him in Durham was with the same object.

“We reject his (Kaneria’s) basic account that he had nothing to do with any arrangement between Westfield and Bhatt — indeed we are sure that he facilitated it,” the panel said.

The 31-year-old Kaneria has not played for Pakistan since making the last of his 61 Test appearances against England in August 2010 — the same tour that saw the infamous spot-fixing episode in the Lord’s Test, which led to then-captain Salman Butt and bowlers Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Aamer being jailed on corruption charges.

Butt, jailed for 30 months last November on charges of accepting corrupt payments, was freed on Thursday.

Aamer was released in February after serving half his six-month sentence while Asif, jailed for 12 months, was freed in May. (AFP)

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