Former Essex player charged with fraud

London: Former Essex county cricketer Mervyn Westfield has been charged with fraud over allegations that he deliberately bowled badly in a domestic match last year, British prosecutors said on Thursday.

"I have advised that Mervyn Westfield should be charged with one count of conspiracy to defraud for intentionally playing other than to the best of his ability, contrary to his contractual obligations," Crown Prosecution Service lawyer Antony Swift said in a statement.

"It is alleged that he dishonestly agreed to bowl his first over to allow the scoring of a certain number of runs at a match between Durham and Essex on 5 September 2009," he added.

Cricket is facing a crisis over allegations of spot-fixing of incidents in the international game.

The International Cricket Council (ICC) this month suspended Pakistan`s Salman Butt, Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Amir for their alleged involvement in fixing no-balls during a test match against England at Lord`s last month.

Fast bowler Westfield, who parted company with Essex last month, will appear at City of London magistrates` court on Sept. 23.

Pakistan leg-spinner Danish Kaneria was cleared earlier this month of betting allegations relating to the same Essex match, his lawyer told Reuters.

Bureau Report

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