Legspinner in trouble for criticising demotion in contracts February 9, 2008

Kaneria faces disciplinary action

Danish Kaneria has landed in hot water after speaking out against his demotion in the central contracts © AFP

Danish Kaneria, the Pakistan legspinner, may land in trouble after criticising the Pakistan Cricket Board's policy on central contracts and the board's top officials have referred his case to the disciplinary committee.

Nasim Ashraf, the PCB chairman, said the board has taken notice of Kaneria's column on a website in which he questioned the central contracts policy after being demoted to Category C in the new list announced last month.

"We have a clear Code of Conduct and if Kaneria is found guilty of violating it then he will face strict punishment," Ashraf told the News. Kaneria, who has played 51 Tests, wrote in his column that he was frustrated at being bracketed with players who have played fewer matches than him, like newcomer Fawad Alam.

"I have played 51 Tests now and once I pass Abdul Qadir's 236 Test wickets, hopefully this year, I will then only have the fast bowlers ahead of me - Waqar Younis, Imran Khan and Wasim Akram," he wrote. "I just feel that achievement deserves a bit more respect. I am respected more when I play at Essex."

Ashraf said the board cannot overlook public criticism of its policies by players contracted by it. Kaneria's case would be discussed by the disciplinary committee later this month.

"We devised a transparent formula to evaluate the players," he said. "The players were promoted, demoted, dropped or inducted (in the central contracts list) on the basis of that formula."

He did speak on the Shoaib Akhtar saga, making it clear that the fast bowler will only be able to win back his place for the home series against Australia if he proves his fitness in this month's Pentangular Cup.

"We don't care about stars or their celebrity status. For us, the best player is one who is fit, in form and gives his best for the team," Ashraf said. "As far as Shoaib is concerned, he should know the only way to get back to the team is by justifying his place and he can only do that by proving his form and fitness in the Pentangular Cup."

Ashraf rejected the impression that Shoaib's refusal to sign a retainership contract would block his re-entry to the Pakistan team.

"If he doesn't want to take the retainer, it's his decision. We won't stop him from playing for Pakistan on that ground."