Danish Kaneria claims innocence as he fights lifetime ban

Former Pakistan spinner Danish Kaneria has criticised the England and Wales Cricket Board, which banned him for life in 2012.

The 33-year-old was punished for introducing then Essex team-mate Mervyn Westfield to illegal bookmakers.

"I have not pressured him or done anything that's brought the game into disrepute, so I'm not guilty," he said.

"The ECB says I should show remorse, but on what should I show remorse? On something I haven't done?"

Who is Danish Kaneria?

  • A leg-spinner, he played 61 Tests for Pakistan between 2000 and 2010
  • His 261 Test wickets, at an average of 34.79, is the most by a Pakistani spinner
  • Only Wasim Akram (414), Waqar Younis (373) and Imran Khan (362) have more Test scalps for Pakistan

Westfield was jailed for four months after receiving £6,000 for agreeing to concede 12 runs during an over of a one-day game against Durham in 2009.

Kaneria was never charged, but his role in suggesting and organising the spot-fixing plan, as well as his influence over Westfield - acknowledged during the latter's trial - resulted in the spinner receiving a lifetime ban from the sport by the ECB.

Under new rules, an ECB ban means Kaneria, who took 261 Test wickets between 2000 and 2010 to become the most successful Pakistan spinner in history, is ineligible to play cricket under any authority affiliated with the International Cricket Council - meaning his ban applies worldwide.

Kaneria, having lost his appeal in April 2013, has accused the governing body of treating him differently from Westfield, who was given a five-year ban from professional cricket and has recently been cleared to play club cricket in Essex.

Kaneria is making another attempt to have his ban overturned, filing a case, which starts on 11 April in the High Court's Commercial Court, against the ECB.

"They have taken my cricket, which is my bread and butter," he said in an exclusive interview with the BBC Asian Network.

Spot-fixing timeline

  • September 2009 : Essex play Durham in a 40-over match
  • February 2012: Mervyn Westfield is jailed for four months, of which he served two, for spot-fixing. During the trial Danish Kaneria was accused of applying "pressure" on Westfield to underperform
  • April 2012: Westfield and Kaneria are charged by the ECB for "alleged breaches of anti-corruption directives"
  • June 2012: Kaneria receives lifetime cricket ban and Westfield is banned for five years
  • December 2012: Kaneria's appeal against the verdict is deferred
  • April 2013: Kaneria fails to overturn spot-fixing finding at ECB appeal hearing
  • April 2014: Kaneria takes the ECB to the UK commercial court

Kaneria disputes Westfield's version of events.

Asked what he would say to Westfield if they met again, Kaneria responded: "Why did you put a knife in my back? I had a wonderful career - why did you destroy it? You get everything back, but for me everything has been taken away by the ECB."

In a statement given to BBC Sport, the ECB said it was happy Kaneria had been treated fairly.

"We would like to reiterate that Mr Kaneria's guilt has been resoundingly established on two separate occasions by two independent Cricket Discipline Commission panels," it read.

"The ECB wholly endorses both panels' decision to impose a life ban in this instance and will continue to advocate the need for the strongest possible deterrents for anyone found guilty of such conduct."

Three Pakistan cricketers - Mohammad Amir, Salman Butt and Mohammad Asif - were jailed and banned for spot-fixing in a Test against England at Lord's at 2010.

Amir, now 21, is still serving a five-year ban but has been supported by the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB), which has allowed him to train at its national academy.

Kaneria says the PCB has not shown him the same support.

"I don't know why they are treating my case differently," he said. "He's been convicted and has gone to prison. I don't know what's wrong with them. It's heart-breaking."