Pakistani legspinner Danish Kaneria was banned for life by the England and Wales Cricket Board Friday for corruption.
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.
Westfield pleaded guilty to receiving money for his part in the conspiracy and was banned from the English game for five years, although he can play minor cricket in three years’ time. Kaneria was hit with a life ban as the panel recognised his role as a corruptor having decided he “approached a number of what he saw as potential targets at Essex” for recruitment as fixers.
“We regardas a grave danger to the game of cricket and we must take every appropriate step to protect our game from his corrupt activities,” the ECB said in a statement.
A distraught Kaneria, who has maintained his innocence since he was first questioned by Essex Police two years ago, has 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.
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.
Kaneria has played in 61 Tests for Pakistan, taking 261 wickets. He has also taken 15 wickets in 18 one-day international appearances.