Banned Test leg-spinner Danish Kaneria has filed a petition in the Sindh High Court seeking permission from the Pakistan Cricket Board to allow him to undergo their rehabilitation program for players found guilty of corruption.
Danish, who took 261 wickets in 61 Tests, was banned for life from all cricket by the English and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) in 2012 on two charges for his role in spot-fixing attempts in the English County Championship pro league matches in 2009.
The spot-fixing incident involving Kaneria also led to a short imprisonment of his former teammate at Essex, Mervyn Westfield who also implicated him in the case.
In a hearing presided over by Judge Muhammad Ali Mazhar of the Sindh High Court in Karachi on Wednesday, Kaneria’s lawyer pleaded that his client had admitted his guilt and had asked for forgiveness.
The lawyer said that Kaneria wanted the PCB to allow him to undergo their rehab program as the life ban was not imposed by the Pakistan board or the International Cricket Council (ICC).
He argued that the life ban imposed by the ECB was only limited to cricket played in the United Kingdom not anywhere else in the world.
Kaneria, who will turn 40 later this month, said at the hearing that he only wanted to atone for his mistakes and get a chance to play in international and domestic cricket again.
The top leg-spinner pleaded that he had offers from some foreign T20 leagues but could not accept them out of fear that the PCB will stop him from playing.
The court set January 15 as the next date of hearing and issued notices to the PCB and the Federal sports ministry to appear and respond to the petitioner’s plea before the court.
The PCB in 2012 had issued a press release ratifying the ECB life ban on Kaneria and a few months back Chairman, Ehsan Mani also didn’t entertain an application from the leg-spinner to hear him out and allow him to undergo the rehabilitation program.
Kaneria also told the court that the board had allowed several players to undergo the rehab program and get back into cricket who had also been found guilty of breaching the anti-corruption code.
Westfield spent two months at Belmarsh prison in south-east London after pleading guilty for accepting 6,000 pounds (USD 7,862) from an illegal bookmaker, Anu Bhatt, to concede 12 runs in his first over of an English county 40-over game against Durham in 2009. He conceded only 10, but still took the money.
The ECB found that Kaneria was the middle man in the entire episode having introduced Westfield to Bhatt but he avoided criminal charges after English legal authorities felt they lacked enough evidence to convict the leg-spinner.