Kaneria stopped from going to Dubai over spot-fixing charges

Karachi: Pakistan leg-spinner Danish Kaneria has been stopped from leaving for the UAE for a Test series against South Africa because of the spot-fixing charges he faced during his county stint with Essex.

In a late night development, Kaneria was stopped by the Pakistan Cricket Board from going to Dubai to join the national team for the two Test matches against South Africa starting November 12.

Kaneria was scheduled to leave with Mohammad Sami from Karachi as were Mohammad Yousuf, Taufiq Umar and Azhar Ali from Lahore in the early hours of Sunday.

But as he was preparing to leave for the airport, Kaneria was told by the PCB to remain in Karachi till further orders.

Zakir Khan, the director of cricket operations in the board, today said the board had not given clearance to Kaneria for the Test series. He refused to say anything more on the issue.

A similar response came from chief selector Mohsin Khan who said he couldn’t select any player in the team who was not cleared by the board.

“Under the new regulations only those players can play who are given clearance by the board and apparently in Kaneria’s case he has been stopped from playing for Pakistan at this point,” Mohsin said.

A well-placed source in the board told PTI that infact it was the ICC that had told the PCB not to play Kaneria at this time in the coming series.

“Apparently the ICC is still not satisfied with the conduct of Kaneria because of the criminal investigation that was conducted against him this year by the Essex police,” the source said.

The source said although the Essex police cleared Kaneria in September but it was for lack of evidence to prosecute him.

“As things stand the ICC is still not entirely satisfied with his conduct,” the source added.

The leg-spinner and his Essex teammate Mervyn Westfield were the subject of a criminal investigation in May by the Essex police on suspicion of conspiracy to defraud bookmakers during a pro-40 match played by the country against Durham in September 2009.

In September this year, the police cleared Kaneria citing lack of evidence but Westfield has been charged and is facing a criminal trial.

Interestingly, Kaneria was also abruptly released by the team management from the Pakistan Test squad in England in the middle of the series in August leading to lot of criticism of the board decision from former players.

“I don’t know why they have stopped me from going to Dubai. I just got a call late night from a PCB official that I should not leave for Dubai and no one has still told me the reason,” Kaneria said.

Pakistan is already rocked by spot fixing allegations against its players and three of them -- Test captain Salman Butt and pace bowlers Mohammad Amir and Mohammad Asif – are presently suspended by the ICC pending an investigation into the allegations that emerged on the recent tour to England.

Butt and Amir also had their appeals against the suspension rejected by an ICC tribunal last week in Dubai and will now have to face the spot-fixing allegations as well in a full hearing most likely in December or January.