Westfield faces Kaneria appeal summons
Mervyn Westfield has been issued with a summons from the High Court in London compelling him to appear at Danish Kaneria's ECB disciplinary appeal
Mervyn Westfield has been issued with a summons from the High Court in London compelling him to appear at Danish Kaneria's ECB disciplinary appeal.
The development is an unusual one and there is some doubt as to whether the High Court has any jurisdiction in the affairs of a sporting body's disciplinary procedure. The appeal is currently scheduled for April 22, with Kaneria expected to travel from Pakistan to England on April 17 to mount his defence against a life suspension from cricket.
Kaneria, the Pakistan legspinner, was banned and charged £100,000 in costs by an ECB panel in June 2012 for his part in the spot-fixing case involving former Essex bowler Westfield. Kaneria had been found guilty of inducing his former Essex team-mate to underperform in a limited-overs game in 2009 and of bringing the game into disrepute. Westfield, who was jailed for his role in the case, gave evidence against Kaneria at the hearing.
As all boards under the governance of the ICC have an agreement to mirror bans imposed in such circumstances, Kaneria's ban has been effective worldwide.
Kaneria's appeal hearing was originally scheduled for December but, after the ECB was unable to gain Westfield's cooperation, it was postponed until April. Without Westfield's evidence, the ECB's case against Kaneria is severely compromised. Kaneria's lawyers are looking not just for his ban to be overturned - at 32, he harbours hopes of a reviving his international career - but they are also claiming "very substantial damages" from the ECB.
Westfield remains reluctant to appear at the appeal. He feels that the harshness of his penalty - a four-month prison sentence and a five-year ban from the first-class game (he is allowed to return to club cricket after three years) - did not reflect the fact that he pleaded guilty and gave evidence and helped the authorities with their investigations.
ESPNcricinfo understands that Westfield's lawyers are currently considering their reaction to the summons. Both the ECB and Kaneria insist they want Westfield to appear at the appeal hearing, although it seems the ECB is the party with most to lose from his absence. Kaneria's lawyers remain adamant that, without Westfield's evidence, the ECB "has no case".
George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfo