Cricket

ECB bans Kaneria for life

The ECB's Disciplinary Panel has banned former Pakistan bowler Danish Kaneria for life after finding him guilty of two charges of corruption after a five-day hearing, calling him "a grave danger to the game".

 
ECB bans Kaneria for life - CricketReuters
 

The Pakistan leg-spinner was playing county cricket with Essex at the time he was accused of corruption, namely inducing Mervyn Westfield to deliberately concede a minimum number of runs in his first over of a Pro40 match with Durham in September 2009.

Westfield was banned for five years, with the relative leniency taken on account of his age, that safeguards had not been put in place to educate players on the dangers of spot-fixing, and that he was cooperative throughout the investigation.

"The game of cricket simply cannot afford to have its reputation tarnished in the eyes of commercial partners," the ECB said in a statement. "These partners could not and would not link their brand to a sport whose integrity had been so undermined.

"For players who have devoted their entire careers to the pursuit of hard fought and properly competitive sport, to have those genuine achievements called into question by the corrupt actions of a tiny minority, may tend to devalue their worth.

"Accordingly, we have no doubt that this is a cancer which must be rooted out of the game of cricket."

Kaneria was banned for life from "any involvement with the playing, organisation or administration of cricket at any level under the jurisdiction of the ECB".

The ECB explained their decision as being necessary to root out a “cancer” in the game.

"(Kaneria’s acts) involve the deliberate corruption of a young and vulnerable player and, we are satisfied, various attempts to involve others in the net of corruption.

"As a senior international player of repute he plainly betrayed the trust reposed in him in his dealings with fellow team-mates and we regard his persistent efforts to recruit spot fixers as being a seriously aggravating factor in his case.

"Kaneria has made no admission, has shown no remorse and sought to cast blame on other plainly innocent persons.

"In all these circumstances, we regard Danish Kaneria as a grave danger to the game of cricket and we must take every appropriate step to protect our game from his corrupt activities."

Former team-mate Westfield, who pleaded guilty to spot-fixing charges at the start of the year in a criminal case, was also found guilty of one charge at the hearing.

Westfield was banned from for five years with the final two years only applicable to English first-class or representative cricket, meaning he can play at club level after three years of his suspension.

The ECB said that this was because, in 2009, they had not yet educated players on spot-fixing, that he admitted guilt from the start and gave evidence that helped convict Kaneria, and that he was fully immersed in an education programme since implemented.

"We wish to indicate that were Westfield to have committed the offence in 2012 - when the education and training programmes were in place - on a fully contested basis, we would have imposed a suspension of 9 years.

"Let no one underestimate the seriousness of failing to perform - or agreeing so to do - on one’s merits.

"To the ECB’s charge he pleaded guilty at the first opportunity and is entitled to significant credit for that. His evidence to this Panel was the core evidence which has exposed and led to the conviction of Kaneria and we accept that this has taken some courage."

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