Spot-fixing February 18, 2012

PCB to cooperate with ECB over Kaneria issue

The Pakistan board's integrity committee has offered its full cooperation to the ECB, should the England board decide to hold an inquiry into Danish Kaneria's alleged involvement in the Mervyn Westfield spot-fixing case, Taffuzul Rizvi, the PCB's legal advisor, has said.

Kaneria, the former Pakistan and Essex legspinner, was not on trial in London, where former Essex bowler Westfield was sentenced to four months in jail after pleading guilty to the charge of accepting or obtaining corrupt payments. Kaneria's name, however, dominated the proceedings in court as he was presented as the influential figure who led Westfield astray.

Westfield, 23, had admitted to accepting £6000 in return for conceding a set number of runs in an over during a Pro40 match against Durham in September 2009. Kaneria, who was arrested along with Westfield in 2010 only for charges to be dropped due to a lack of evidence, could now face an investigation by the ECB.

"This match was an England domestic match, so it's in the ECB's basic jurisdiction, but since Danish is a Pakistan player we are obviously looking into the matter with a lot of concern," Rizvi told ESPNcricinfo. "The stance of the PCB is one of zero tolerance towards any player with questionable integrity.

"The judgment of Westfield raised a lot of questions but in law everybody is innocent until proven guilty. A detailed inquiry is required and the integrity committee will resume its proceedings in due course. The PCB will be working closely with the ECB to get to the bottom of this matter."

ESPNcricinfo understands Kaneria did not give an undertaking to return to England nor was he asked by the Essex Police to return to face any inquiry.

Despite the latest developments concerning Kaneria, he is captaining Sind in the Pentangular Cup final, which began today in Lahore. The PCB did not prevent Kaneria from playing the match because it did not want to act in haste. "Even Westfield was suspended after he was sentenced so there should not be a knee-jerk reaction," Rizvi said. "The integrity committee has taken up a detailed inquiry proceeding and obviously fairness has to be followed in all proceedings."

Kaneria has always pleaded his innocence and his lawyer, Farogh Naseem, reiterated that his client had been cleared. "At the time of the police inquiry, Kaneria was not charged and [was] cleared," Naseem said. "The ICC cleared him. We feel that Kaneria was discharged in the case."

Umar Farooq is ESPNcricinfo's Pakistan correspondent