Spot-fixing

Kaneria charged by ECB over fixing claims

George Dobell

April 5, 2012

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Danish Kaneria at the Sindh High Court, Karachi, July 4, 2011
Danish Kaneria faces an ECB disciplinary hearing over corruption allegations © AFP
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The ECB is to bring disciplinary proceedings against Danish Kaneria and Mervyn Westfield in relation to spot-fixing allegations. Both will face charges of breaching the ECB's anti-corruption directives.

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. While Kaneria, the former Pakistan spinner and Essex's overseas player for several seasons, was named by the judge at London's Central Criminal Court as the orchestrator of the plot, he was never charged by the police, on the grounds of insufficient evidence. If he is found guilty as part of the ECB proceedings, however, he could still face a worldwide ban from the game.

An ECB disciplinary panel, chaired by Gerard Elias QC, will sit in the first week of May to consider the charges.

Westfield, who is expected to be released from jail this month having pleaded guilty to the criminal charges, is likely to appear before the disciplinary panel and appeal for leniency on the grounds of his age and naivety at the time of the offence. During the court case, Westfield suggested he had been pressurised into participating in the plot by Kaneria.

Kaneria, meanwhile, has continued to protest his innocence. He remains a professional cricketer in Pakistan - he recently captained Sind in the final of the Pentangular Cup - and will know that, if he wants to sustain his career, he will have to clear his name. He may be nervous of travelling to the UK, however, fearing fresh criminal charges could be brought. Three of his former Pakistan teammates - Mohammad Asif, Mohammad Amir and Salman Butt - were jailed last year for their role in a separate spot-fixing scandal.

Several current players, including Derbyshire's Tony Palladino, Warwickshire's Varun Chopra - both of whom were with Essex at the time of the alleged offence - and former Essex captain Mark Pettini, are expected to provide evidence at the ECB hearing.

Under ICC regulations, any ban imposed by the ECB must be recognised and replicated by all cricket playing nations.

George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfo

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