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February 21, 2012
Danish Kaneria has said that he is prepared to appear before an integrity committee of the Pakistan board to try to save his cricket career in the wake of the Mervyn Westfield spot-fixing trial.
Westfield, the former Essex seam bowler, was jailed for four months at the Old Bailey last week and Kaneria was identified by his defence solicitor, Mark Milliken-Smith QC, as the Essex team-mate who introduced him to the murky world of cricket corruption. Already excluded from the Pakistan side, he faces the possibility of a life ban in all forms of cricket.
"Whenever the PCB integrity committee calls me, I will present myself, as I always have," Kaneria said. "After that whatever happens, I will see about that later." He refused to answer whether he would return to England if asked to face an ECB disciplinary committee.
Kaneria, speaking at the tea interval at the Gaddafi Stadium, where he was captaining Sind in the final of the Pentangular Trophy, waved a letter from the ICC, dated November 2010, that he said stated that the ICC's anti-corruption unit (ACSU) was not actively investigating him - a letter that has become his main refuge as allegations have stacked up against him.
ICC sources have since formally advised the ECB and PCB that their letter in no way exonerated Kaneria but simply stated that the investigation was in the hands of Essex Police, and that any clearance certificate was a matter for the PCB.
Essex Police did not charge him because of insufficient evidence as Westfield changed his plea to guilty after Kaneria had returned to Pakistan. Allegations made against Kaneria at the Old Bailey were made not by Westfield himself, who has never given evidence, but by his solicitor.
"I have also presented this letter to the PCB's integrity committee," Kaneria said. "The letter says clearly the ICC neither issues any clearance nor is any player required to obtain such clearance from the ICC. I have this letter, which also says 'the ICC ACSU is not conducting any investigation of your client under the ICC anti-corruption law.' "
"I want to clarify these points because the media has [misquoted] me a little by saying I said I have a clearance letter from the ICC. What I have is a letter from the ICC."
Kaneria was asked if he knew the bookmaker, Arun Bhatia, who was named in court as an alleged accomplice. "No," he said.
With inputs from Umar Farooq
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