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Kaneria found guilty by ECB in spot-fixing case

Pakistani spinner allegedly pressured teammate into conceding runs

Gulf News


Pakistani leg-spinner Danish Kaneria was on Friday found guilty of pressuring former Essex teammate Mervyn Westfield into spot-fixing, the latest corruption case tarnishing the image of cricket.

The England and Wales Cricket Board found Kaneria guilty of two charges, while Westfield pleaded guilty to one charge involving spot-fixing during a county one-day match in 2009.

The ECB's disciplinary panel found Kaneria guilty of "cajoling and pressurising" Westfield into spot-fixing and of bringing the game into disrepute. Westfield pleaded guilty to receiving payment, which could bring him or the game into disrepute.

The guilty verdicts came a day after former Pakistan captain Salman Butt was released from an English jail after serving seven months of a 30-month sentence for his role in spot-fixing during the 2010 tour of England. He returned to Pakistan early Friday.

Butt was jailed along with Mohammad Amir and Mohammad Asif, who have also both since been released after serving half their sentences, after they agreed to bowl no-balls during a Test match at Lord's.

Westfield was jailed for four months earlier this year after pleading guilty to spot-fixing. Kaneria was accused in a British court in February of inducing Westfield into spot-fixing during a Pro-40 match against Durham on September 5, 2009.

Kaneria has been suspended from international cricket by the Pakistan Cricket Board since 2010 soon after allegations of spot-fixing surfaced.

The ECB said Kaneria acted as a "recruiter" of spot-fixers for Indian businessman Anu Bhatt, who was described as being involved in illegal betting. It said Kaneria introduced Bhatt to Westfield and pressured him to deliberately concede a minimum number of runs in his first over of the Essex-Durham match.

Westfield allegedly received £6,000 (Dh34,324) for his part in the scheme.

The ECB said Westfield was "both vulnerable and naive" and "relatively unworldly and unsophisticated" at the time.

"He may well have been going through a phase of self doubt and anxiety — whether objectively justified or not — about his cricketing future," it said.