County news February 18, 2016

Westfield allowed to play 2nd XI cricket

ESPNcricinfo staff

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Archive: Mervyn Westfield talks about his experiences in 2014

Mervyn Westfield, the former Essex bowler who was jailed for his part in spot-fixing in 2012, will be allowed to play county 2nd XI and Minor Counties cricket this season after being given special dispensation by the ECB.

Westfield originally received a five-year ban from cricket after pleading guilty to corruption at the Old Bailey. He was allowed to return to club cricket in 2014 but will still not be able to play first-class cricket until his suspension expires in 2017.

The decision by the ECB's Cricket Discipline Commission (CDC) allows Westfield to try and pursue a second county career. It follows an appeal on his behalf by the Professional Cricketers' Association (PCA), who Westfield has worked with on anti-corruption initiatives since his release from prison.

"I'm really happy to play minor counties and second XI again - if anyone gives me the opportunity to do it," he told the BBC.

"I've done wrong. I'm just trying to fix it now and obviously I'm happy I'm back playing cricket."

Westfield, 27, served half of a four-month prison sentence after admitting to accepting £6000 to underperform in a Pro40 match for Essex against Durham in 2009.

He has been playing club cricket for Frinton for the last two years. The CDC ruled that Westfield's ban from first-class cricket should be upheld because of the deterrent it serves to those who might otherwise become involved in fixing.

Gerard Elias, chairman of the CDC, said: "The panel concluded that Mr Westfield has made a real and substantial effort in this area which reflects his continuing remorse and a genuine desire on his part to repay cricket for the harm caused by his actions in 2009.

"In these exceptional circumstances, we shall allow him to participate in Minor Counties cricket and first-class county second XI cricket from February 17th, 2016. However, he will not be able to participate in first team cricket for any first-class county until his original sentence expires on February 16th, 2017."

Westfield played 15 matches for Essex between 2005 and 2009, taking 11 first-class wickets and five in List A cricket.

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