Kaneria to appeal lifetime ban

Swindon Advertiser: Danish Kaneria is maintaining his innocence Danish Kaneria is maintaining his innocence

Danish Kaneria has indicated he will appeal the lifetime ban handed down to him by an England and Wales Cricket Board Disciplinary Panel for his role in a spot-fixing plot.

The 31-year-old was found guilty of "cajoling and pressurising" former Essex team-mate Mervyn Westfield into accepting cash in return for trying to concede a set number of runs in an over during a Pro 40 match in 2009.

In a damning verdict, the ECB panel also described Kaneria, Pakistan's fourth-highest Test wicket taker, as a "grave danger" to the sport while describing his evidence during the four-day hearing in London as "plainly lies".

A distraught Kaneria, who has maintained his innocence since he was first questioned by Essex Police two years ago, later hit out at the detailed findings of the panel.

"I'm very upset about this decision. For what reason they have convicted me I do not know," he told Sky Sports News. "It is a very, very unfair decision against me. I've come all the way from Pakistan to say the truth. They [ECB] don't have any proof against me. I don't know why they are saying this ("grave danger to cricket", etc).

"I will definitely be doing an appeal. The people trust me. I'm an honest man. I've been playing cricket with passion and love. I have done nothing wrong."

Kaneria also voiced his objection to testimony from Westfield, who in February was sentenced to four months in jail after admitting a spot-fixing charge at the Old Bailey. Westfield, who admitted an ECB charge of receiving a reward which could bring him or the game of cricket into disrepute, was suspended for five years, although he can return to club cricket after three.

"The person who has committed the crime, gone to prison, been telling lies to police, telling lies in court - he has told lies even in the tribunal," he said. "I'm not lying. I'm telling the truth. I've been telling the truth all the way."

Following the announcement, International Cricket Council chief Haroon Lorgat revealed he would this week call on all cricket boards to recognise Kaneria's ban. Despite the ECB decision, it is still not clear whether the leg-spinner could still play outside of England and Wales, where the jurisdiction of his ban lies.

Press Association Sport understands that the cricket boards of Bangladesh and Sri Lanka are not presently obliged to fall in line with the ban. Both countries are yet to sign an understanding amongst the ICC's full-member nations that any domestic bans for match-fixing would be recognised within their borders.

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