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July 3, 2013
Mervyn Westfield, the former Essex seamer who was jailed for his part in spot-fixing during 2009 and launched an angry attack on his treatment by English cricket earlier this year, now wants to help the next generation of cricketers avoid repeating the mistakes he made.
Westfield received a five-year ban for his involvement in conceding a set number of runs off an over in a Pro40 match against Durham in 2009, after being "cajoled" by Danish Kaneria who remains banned for life after his appeal failed.
However, Westfield's punishment has been relaxed a little following an appeal hearing yesterday and he will now be able to play club cricket from April 1, 2014, although he remains banned for the professional level until 2017. The amendment to Westfield's ban came with the condition that he fully cooperates with the Professional Cricketers' Association anti-corruption work.
"I'm sorry for what I've done," Westfield said in a statement released by the PCA. "I just want to put it right and help identify the clear dangers that exist. Cricket has been my life since I was six, and it's all I know, what I love, and what I live for. I have missed playing so much."
"I hope people can forgive my actions and maybe even find it in themselves to understand how difficult I've found it to cope with every step of this affair," he said. "I will now do all I can to help PCA and others to educate cricketers, especially young ones, to ensure nobody has to go through what I have."
Westfield's desire to now help the PCA is a distinct change to his attitude earlier in the year when he was furious at being forced to appear at Kaneria's appeal hearing and claimed he had not been helped enough since the details of spot-fixing emerged.
"No one else has given me any support despite all the promises a year ago," he said in April. "I am here to bring to an end the pain and suffering that I am forced to continuously suffer, and in the hope that after today my family and I will never be subjected to the humiliation and hurt we have gone through in the last three years."
Earlier on Wednesday, Kaneria reacted angrily to his life ban being upheld and said that because Westfield's punishment has been softened somewhat that he should have been allowed a chance to resume his career.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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