Kaneria appeals to BCCI for help

WEB DESK: Pakistan’s Test spinner Danish Kaneria has applied for a plea to the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) in order to get one last hearing on his spot-fixing case which resulted in a life ban.

A disciplinary panel of the England and Wales Cricket Board banned Kaneria in June 2012 after he was found guilty of corruption while playing for Essex in a limited-overs match in 2009 and imposed a fine of £100,000 on the cricketer.

“It will save me, my life, and whatever cricket is left in me,” said Kaneria, while talking to the Mid-Day. “I am living on my last savings. I do not know how long I will survive. I can even teach young Indians the art of spin, can’t I? Why can’t they call me? I am one of them.”

“Every avenue has dried up for me in Pakistan; I seem to have no takers for my appeals from the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB). I am dying,” said Kaneria. “It is because I am a Hindu, a minority in Pakistan. It is because I refused to admit my involvement in spot-fixing when the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) charged me. I want to be heard, is it very difficult to hear me out?”

“I told him he was biased, many have been pardoned, why not me,” questioned Kaneria. “The Scotland Yard found no evidence against me; the ECB reacted on the basis of the confessions of one cricketer. Look at the way the PCB has handled Mohammad Amir’s case. What about me? Isn’t that unfair?”

When told that Amir admitted his guilt and responded well to the rehabilitation program, Kaneria said, “He did [so] because he was involved, I didn’t because I was not. It’s almost like punishing me for introducing Mervyn Westfield to Anu Bhatt [an Indian businessman suspected of involvement in illegal betting].”

Westfield, a former Essex pace bowler, was also charged with bringing the game into disrepute to which he pleaded guilty and was given a five-year ban, although he will be allowed to play club cricket after three years, ESPNCricinfo reported.

“See what I have been reduced to by the ECB, ICC and PCB. I cannot play any cricket which falls under the ambit of PCB. I cannot visit a PCB ground, nor I can train at their facilities. I cannot even meet my former cricketer friends. It’s like living under house arrest,” said Kaneria, who still trains for a few hours at the Karachi Parsi Institute Ground with some locals.

“Only BCCI can save me. Anurag Thakur (secretary) should consider my case and urge Shashank Manohar (president) to speak to the ICC. Lift the ban, help me get a honourable exit,” added Kaneria.

At the time of investigation, phone records showed extensive contact between Kaneria and Bhatt in the days leading up to the September 2009 Pro40 match that Westfield accepted money to underperform in. Kaneria’s defence that Westfield was not a credible witness, due to his previous conduct, was also rejected.

Kaneria also confirmed to the panel that he bought tickets for Bhatt to be in Durham for that game. Then came other damning evidence from other players at Essex, who said Kaneria would jokingly talk about spot and match fixing. But still, there was no proof that Kaneria was himself involved in match, or spot fixing.

The disciplinary panel, which also included David Gabbitass and former England allrounder Jamie Dalrymple, concluded: “Danish Kaneria knowingly induced or encouraged Mervyn Westfield not to perform on his merits in the Durham match.” He was accordingly found guilty of both charges brought by the ECB, of attempting to induce Westfield to underperform and of bringing the game into disrepute.

Source: Mid-Day/ESPNCricinfo