Danish Kaneria

Danish Kaneria was banned for life from playing cricket in the United Kingdom surrounding allegations of spot-fixing © AFP

Karachi: Aug 18, 2013

Former Pakistan captain Rashid Latif on Sunday released Essex coach Paul Grayson and player Tom Westley‘s statements, in which they have denied that disgraced Pakistan leg-spinner Danish Kaneria ever approached them to indulge in spot-fixing.

The statements of Grayson and Westley were part of the disciplinary proceedings instituted against Kaneria by the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) last year that led to his life ban from playing the sport in the United Kingdom.

The ECB disciplinary panel, in its ruling, had said that Kaneria was a grave danger to cricket and had tried to influence Essex players to do spot fixing and set them up with alleged Indian bookmaker Arun Bhatt.

But in the statements released, Latif, in his ongoing campaign to prove Kaneria’s innocence, insisted that Grayson and Westley only have good words to say about the Pakistani bowler.

“Danish was a player who on the pitch was very influential and performed well for Essex. His performances for Essex have earned him the respect of all the players and coaches and for some be an inspiration,” Grayson, who took over from Graham Gooch in 2007 as Essex’s head coach, had said in his statement.

“I feel Danish loves the game and bowling. He was an approachable person and definitely enjoyed the social side of the team. Danish had a wonderful rapport with some of the lads in the team and I understand they often socialised with each other off the field.

“During his time at Essex, Danish has never been reprimanded nor has he had to be disciplined for any disruptive behaviour,” Grayson added.
Westley, a senior Essex batsman, in his statement said: “There is always banter in the dressing rooms. However, I have never heard any banter in the dressing room centering around match fixing or spot-fixing.

“I can further confirm I have never been approached by Danish or any other person with relation to match or spot-fixing. Danish was a very approachable and hospitable person.”

Westley also said that he stayed over at Danish’s house many a times, but never during that period was he ever introduced to a friend who seemed of unsavoury nature.

“Danish was very well respected in the team and his performances for Essex also earned him respect,” Westley said.

Latif today said he would soon be releasing more documents relating to Kaneria’s case, which would further raise serious questions whether the leg-spinner had got justice from the ECB.

“I have seen all the documents and there is no real evidence except for the confessional statement of Mervyn Westfield. I really don’t know what the Pakistan Cricket Board has been doing about this case,” Latif said.