By Muhammad Asif Khan
KARACHI: Danish Kaneria, the Pakistani leg-spinner has been under hot waters for more than two years now as the English Cricket Board (ECB), last year, banned him for life for his involvement in spot-fixing in a county game in September 2009. Kaneria has already filed as appeal, against the ban, which will be heard on April 22nd.
In the preliminary hearing of Kaneria’s appeal in December last year his Essex-county mate and the man who accused him of the crime – Mervyn Westfield - did not show up but the Karachi based lawyer of the banned leg-spinner, Farogh Naseem, is of the view that in case of Westfield’s absence from the upcoming hearing, Danish Kaneria would probably be cleared of the charge. “If he [Westfield] appears before the appeal panel, then we would thoroughly question him, however in his absence, the ECB will lose out on its star witness”, said Farogh Naseem while talking to this correspondent for News One TV.
Kaneria, 32, was banned for life and charged £100,000 in costs by an ECB disciplinary panel in June last year for his part in the spot-fixing case. The lanky spinner was found guilty of luring his team-mate [Westfield] to under-perform and bringing the game into disrepute. Westfield, who was jailed for his role in the case, gave evidence against Kaneria at the hearing took place in June last.
Kaneria's appeal hearing was originally scheduled for December but, upon Westfield’s non-appearance, it was postponed until April 22nd.
The lawyer, Farogh Naseem further said that, in his view, the earlier given statement by Westfield would hold no weight if he fails to attend the upcoming hearing as well.
“I believe his [Westfield’s] old statement will have no weight, because he is not cross-questioned in an appeal as yet. As per the law, during the proceedings of an appeal all the evidences and statements are reassessed and we are looking forward to doing the same”, said Farogh Naseem.
“If Westfield would fail to appear before the panel again, then Kaneria would be benefited”, concludes Farogh Naseem
Kaneria, 32, is the fourth highest wicket-taker for Pakistan in Test cricket with 236 scalps to his credit in 61 appearances. He last played for Pakistan in July 2010.
The writer is a Pakistani sports journalist, and tweets @mak_asif