Essex and Pakistan leg spinner Danish Kaneria is facing a new corruption inquiry which could ban him from the game for life, The Cricketer can reveal.
The 31-year-old bowler was named in court as the “corrupter” of Mervyn Westfield. It was alleged he also approached at least four other players at Essex about spot-fixing and had been warned by the ICC for his links to a corrupt bookie in 2008.
The leg-spinner now faces a disciplinary tribunal in England. Essex police will hand over the case files to the England and Wales Cricket Board. It is likely to launch a full investigation for which the maximum penalty, if proven guilty, is a worldwide lifetime ban.
The Pakistan Cricket Board have also requested the police files to determine “the extent to which Kaneria was involved in the investigations.”
Meanwhile, following Westfield’s revelations in court, the CPS are likely to again review whether there is enough evidence to pursue a criminal case against Kaneria. Legal sources believe that it is unlikely he will face charges, and that it will be left to cricket’s administrators to investigate. But an ECB corruption inquiry could ban him from the game for life worldwide if he was found guilty, because the offence would be considered according to the sanctions when it was committed – in this case, two Essex matches played in 2009.
The leg-spinner denies all involvement in spot-fixing during the Natwest Pro40 matches against Durham and Somerset. It was reported Kaneria was “cleared” by police. In fact, detectives had referred the case to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), which deemed there was insufficient evidence for a “realistic prospect of conviction” on a criminal charge.
While under investigation, Kaneria played in a Test match against England at Trent Bridge during the scandal-hit Pakistan tour of 2010. Although he was selected for a two-Test series against South Africa the following winter, he was told by the PCB that he did not have clearance to take part and has not been selected since. Kaneria has also been unable to secure a contract again in English county cricket while suspicions loomed over him.
The leg spinner has fought protracted battles in Pakistan courts to clear his name and made repeated pleas to be re-instated to the national side, including during a meeting with the new chairman of the PCB, Zaka Ashraf.
The spinner is still playing club cricket in Pakistan for Sindh. But the PCB denied him clearance to be considered for international duty until it knew the full outcome and fall out from the Westfield case.
Speaking to a newspaper in Pakistan recently, Kaneria, said: “I am frustrated at the delay which has kept me from playing. When there is no proof against me why is the PCB not clearing me? It’s mental torture.”
Kaneria was not implicated in the Pakistan spot-fixing trial which jailed former captain Salman Butt bowlers Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Amir, and their corrupt agent, Mazhar Majeed.
The leg-spinner was quick to react to his only mention in the trial, rubbishing Butt’s claim that it was a group of senior players, including the leg-spinner, who introduced the former captain to Majeed. Kaneria protested that he had never even met the agent and threatened legal action against Butt.
* Read coverage of the trial on The Cricketer website, and follow RDJ Edwards’s tweets @Cricketer_RDJ