London. Former Pakistan leg-spinner Danish Kaneria was given a life ban from English cricket on Friday for his involvement in the Mervyn Westfield spot-fixing case, the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) said.
Westfield was given a five-year ban, although he will be able to play club cricket in the final two years of his suspension.
In a statement an ECB disciplinary panel said: “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.
“Accordingly, we are unanimously of the view that the only appropriate sanction in relation to both charges is one of suspension for life and that is the sanction we impose.
“This means from today Danish Kaneria is suspended from any involvement in the playing, organization or administration of any cricket under the jurisdiction of the ECB.”
The panel, who in an earlier statement Friday had labelled Kaneria a “liar,” added corruption was a “cancer which must be rooted out of the game of cricket.”
Kaneria’s ban could all but signal the end of his career as most of cricket’s leading nations, including Pakistan, have signed up to a doctrine of the “mutual recognition of sanctions” put forward by the International Cricket Council (ICC) in a bid to stamp out corruption.
But Bangladesh and Sri Lanka have not committed themselves to this policy.
Westfield was jailed for four months in February, but served two before being released in April, after admitting he accepted £6,000 to under-perform during a Pro40 match between Essex and Durham in 2009.
The now 24-year-old Westfield named Kaneria — arrested with him in 2010 but released without charge — as the link between bookmakers and players.
And the ECB panel agreed, saying: “We are left in no reasonable doubt that Danish Kaneria knowingly induced or encouraged Mervyn Westfield not to perform on his merits in the Durham match.”
In a damning indictment of 31-year-old Kaneria, the disciplinary panel said: “We consider that in many respects the evidence of Danish Kaneria simply does not stand up to scrutiny and is plainly lies.”
The panel said Kaneria had “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.”
Kaneria was found guilty by the ECB of two charges.
Firstly, he “induced or encouraged, or attempted to induce or encourage, Westfield not to perform on his merits, that is, to deliberately concede a minimum number of runs in his first over of the match between Essex and Durham.”
And secondly, he was also found guilty of bringing cricket into disrepute “by inducing or encouraging Westfield not to perform on his merits.”
Westfield was charged by a three-man panel chaired by lawyer Gerard Elias and featuring retired former England one-day international bowler Jamie Dalrymple with bringing cricket into disrepute, a charge the seamer accepted.
Explaining the punishment handed out to Westfield, the panel said that had he committed the offences to which he pleaded guilty this year — when the education and training programmes put forward by the ECB and the Professional Cricketers’ Association were in place — rather than in 2009, “we would have imposed a suspension of nine years.”
They added: “We bear in mind the fact that his conduct occurred in 2009, that he was targeted and pressurised by a senior team mate.
“To the ECB’s charge he pleaded guilty at the first opportunity and is entitled to significant credit for that.”
The ECB panel said Kaneria, by his own admission, had introduced Westfield in a nightclub to Arun or Anu Bhatt an Indian businessman who, prior to November 2007, had come to the notice of the Anti Corruption and Security Unit (ACSU) of the ICC as “allegedly being heavily involved in illegal betting”.