Cook says Westfield case `sad day for cricket`

Dubai: England captain Alastair Cook has said that the jailing of his former Essex team-mate Mervyn Westfield for spot-fixing was "an incredibly sad day for cricket."

A British court on Friday jailed Westfield for four months after he admitted taking 6,000 pounds (USD 9,500 at current rates) in corrupt payments to deliberately bowl poorly at a 2009 match between Essex and Durham.

"Personally knowing the guys involved makes it tough," said Cook on Saturday, speaking after he led England to a 3-0 unassailable lead in the four-match one-day series against Pakistan here on Saturday.

"As sportsmen, we have a duty to play in the right spirit and fairly for the public -- who want to see both sides trying to win."

He added: "It`s an incredibly sad day for cricket, and especially Essex. I`m an Essex boy through and through, and I love playing for Essex.

"To hear what`s going on makes me very sad," said Cook, who has played for Essex throughout his career.

Westfield and his Essex team-mate Danish Kaneria of Pakistan were arrested in May 2009.

Kaneria was released without being charged but Mark Milliken-Smith, representing Westfield, told the court Friday that the Pakistan player was the middleman in the plot.

Kaneria, who is currently blocked from playing international cricket by the Pakistan Cricket Board, maintains his innocence.

Pakistan captain Misbah-ul Haq said the controversy was "sad for Pakistan cricket," which was rocked to the core last year after three of its players were jailed in London over a spot-fixing scam.

"It is very disappointing and sad for Pakistan cricket," Misbah said on Friday."I hope all such issues which stain Pakistan cricket`s image finishes so that we can concentrate on the game."


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