Karachi: Former Pakistan legspinner Danish Kaneria said on Monday he has hired a legal team for an English cricket board disciplinary hearing over a spot-fixing case that sent his former Essex team-mate to prison. Mervyn Westfield was jailed for four months in February after admitting that he accepted money to under-perform during a Pro40 match between Essex and Durham in 2009.
The 23-year-old seamer named Kaneria - arrested with him in 2010 but released without charge - as the link between bookmakers and players. The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) said last week that Westfield and Kaneria would face a disciplinary hearing in May. "Kaneria has hired three lawyers, two from the UK and one from Pakistan to represent him before the England and Wales Cricket Board," the player's lawyer Farogh Naseem said in a statement. Naseem said Kaneria, who took 276 international wickets in 61 Tests and 18 one-day games for Pakistan, denied the allegations.
"Kaneria pleads not guilty to the charges... and also objects to any sanction being inflicted on him," the lawyer said. Kaneria's legal team has asked the ECB to delay the hearing until at least May 10 to give them time to study a 400-page evidence bundle. In February, London's Old Bailey court was told Westfield was paid nearly $10,000 to bowl so that a specific number of runs would be chalked up in the first over of a match between Durham and Essex in September 2009.
The 31-year-old Kaneria faces a life ban from the game if found guilty at the hearing, where a number of Essex players are expected to give evidence. He has not played for Pakistan since the Nottingham Test against England in August 2010 - the same tour that saw the infamous spot-fixing episode in the Lord's Test, which led to then-captain Salman Butt and bowlers Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Aamer being jailed on corruption charges.PAGE_BREAK