Spot-fixing controversy

ICC and boards dismiss Kaneria clearance claim

David Hopps

February 20, 2012

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Danish Kaneria removed Steve Smith quickly but Australia built on their lead on day three, Pakistan v Australia, 1st Test, Lord's, July 15, 2010
Danish Kaneria has not received any clearance from the ICC, ECB or PCB © AFP
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The ICC has joined forces with the cricket boards in England and Pakistan to dismiss out of hand Danish Kaneria's claims that he has already been issued with clearance certificates that should leave him free to continue his international career in the wake of the spot-fixing scandal

Mervyn Westfield, the former Essex seam bowler, was jailed for four months last week and Kaneria was named as an accomplice at the Old Bailey, but the following day, while captaining Sind Province in the Pentangular Cup final in Lahore he insisted: "The Essex police cleared me and I have clearance certificates from both the ECB and ICC, so I am not feeling any pressure. I am just enjoying my cricket."

Those claims, which were widely regarded as unsubstantiated at the time, have now been officially scotched in a joint statement by the ICC, PCB and ECB. "Following reports in the media in which Danish Kaneria claims to have been issued with a clearance certificate, the ICC, the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) and the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) can categorically deny that such a clearance certificate was ever issued.

"The PCB stated that, following the Mervyn Westfield judgement, Danish Kaneria will again be called to appear before the integrity committee to explain his position. The PCB also confirmed that the Kaneria clearance matter is pending before the integrity committee of the PCB where in the last meeting he was directed to provide copies of the tapes of his Essex police interview."

Kaneria was named in court as the alleged go-between between Westfield and bookmakers who paid the Essex bowler £6,000 to deliberately concede an agreed number of runs in an over in a Pro40 match against Durham in 2009.

Kaneria was released on grounds of insufficient evidence in 2010, shortly before Westfield was charged. But the PCB rejected a document that he submitted last May in a failed attempt to clear suspicions of spot-fixing and enable him to play for his country. Neither the ECB nor Essex, as his employer at the time, has deemed it fit to provide a clearance certificate since then.

A further appearance in front of the PCB's integrity committee is now inevitable after new evidence was outlined in court by Westfield's defence solicitor, Mark Milliken-Smith QC, concerning Kaneria's fixation with supposedly jocular conversations with team-mates about the money that could be made from fixing.

The PCB has also never accepted a document provided by Kaneria from Essex police that he claimed was evidence that he had been cleared of all charges. In May, the PCB asked Kaneria for transcripts of the police interview which his legal representatives said could not be made available.

Essex, determinedly silent on the affair, have given no indication about what information they might have provided to the PCB. Neither has the county explained why it took six months to report Westfield's fix after he first showed a team-mate a plastic bag full of £50 notes.

Edited by Andrew McGlashan

David Hopps is the UK editor of ESPNcricinfo

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David Hopps David Hopps joined ESPNcricinfo as UK editor early in 2012. For the previous 20 years he was a senior cricket writer for the Guardian and covered England extensively during that time in all Test-playing nations. He also covered four Olympic Games and has written several cricket books, including collections of cricket quotations. He has been an avid amateur cricketer since he was 12, and so knows the pain of repeated failure only too well. The pile of untouched novels he plans to read, but rarely gets around to, is now almost touching the ceiling. He divides his time between the ESPNcricinfo office in Hammersmith and his beloved Yorkshire.
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