Karachi: Banned cricketer Danish Kaneria has called for his life ban to be reviewed in wake of the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) decision to allow Salman Butt, Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Amir to return to competitive cricket once their five-year ban ends on September 1, 2015.
Kaneria was given a life ban by the English and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) in 2012 after being found guilty of corruption for encouraging former Essex teammate Mervyn Westfield to spot-fix in a domestic CB40 match against Durham in 2009.
However, over the years, Kaneria has maintained his innocence, stating he has been made a scapegoat.
The former leg-spinner, who is Pakistan’s most successful Test spinner in history with 261 wickets from 61 matches, feels he has been singled out while other convicted players have been forgiven.
“Convicted players who have been jailed and have sold the country have been given a second chance but the same treatment hasn’t been given to me,” Kaneria told The Express Tribune.
“I’ve been regularly told to accept guilt and show remorse but why should I do that when I haven’t committed any crime. I was cleared by the Essex police but the ECB especially made a panel for me, pressurised the witness [Westfield] and then forced a life ban on me. When convicted players can get a new life, why not me?”
In September 2010, he was cleared by the Essex police without being charged after the affair was investigated for three months.
Kaneria said that he was happy that the likes of Amir, Asif and Butt have been given another chance to redeem themselves in domestic and international cricket and move-on from a dark incident of their lives.
“Cricketers’ bread and butter is only cricket so I’m happy that they will be able to play again and earn for themselves and their families. I just hope that the ICC, ECB and PCB will review my case,” he added.
Meanwhile, former captain Rashid Latif has backed Kaneria and stated that the ICC needs to review its anti-corruption laws because the player has been punished by the ECB based just on a statement and not on concrete evidence.
Latif has closely followed Kaneria’s case and has remained on his side. “The ICC has made laws for those who have committed crimes and show remorse, but what about a player like Kaneria, who hasn’t done anything and yet has been banned,” questioned Latif. “The ICC must revisit its anti-corruptions rules and regulations because Kaneria deserves to play again.”
He also lamented the PCB for maintaining a weak stance against the ECB and the ICC and said that if a similar thing had happened to a player of Australia, India or South Africa, their cricket boards would have taken a firm stand against the unjust treatment.