Karachi: Former Pakistani greats Saturday expressed disappointment over a life ban on leg-spinner Danish Kaneria but stressed the need for tougher action against fixing to avoid such incidents in future. The 31-year-old was banned for life from any cricket under the jurisdiction of the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) after being found guilty of corruption by a disciplinary panel.
Essex paceman Mervyn Westfield, who was jailed in February after admitting he had accepted £6,000 to under-perform during a Pro40 match between Essex and Durham in 2009, had named Kaneria as the link between bookmakers and players. A statement issued by the ECB panel described Kaneria as "grave danger to the game of cricket" and branded him a "liar".
Former Pakistan captain Aamir Sohail said he was disappointed at another Pakistani punished for fixing. "I am disappointed, but not shocked," Sohail told AFP. "We are now accustomed [to] it. But it is high time now that we should think seriously about it and avoid such happenings in future."
Kaneria becomes the third Pakistani to be banned over fixing. Former captain Salim Malik and Ata-ur Rehman were banned for life after a Pakistani match-fixing inquiry in 2000. Rehman's ban was overturned on appeal in 2003. Pakistan were also in the spotlight for fixing when three of their players - Salman Butt, Mohammad Aamer and Mohammad Asif - were banned by the ICC and later jailed by a UK court in 2010 for fixing specific parts of a Test match.
Sohail said Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) needs to be more vigilant. "It [PCB] swallowed up what came up in the past," said Sohail, referring to the match-fixing inquiry in 2000. "PCB should have thought hard about things and now we cannot afford any such thing."
Another former captain Rashid Latif - known for his fight against match-fixing - said he has no remorse. "If he [Kaneria] was guilty then there should be no remorse or disappointment," said Latif. "Anyone involved and found guilty should be punished and the talk of forgiving players like Butt, Asif and Aamer [is] wrong," said Latif.
"In fact I would suggest that [the] assets of these players should also be checked."
Former paceman Sarfraz Nawaz, however, termed Kaneria's life ban as harsh. "A life ban is harsh, it should have been two to five years," said Nawaz. "This latest case has increased our responsibilities to avoid any such incident in the future."
Kaneria's ban could all but signal the end of his career as most of cricket's leading nations, including Pakistan, have signed up to a doctrine of the "mutual recognition of sanctions" put forward by the International Cricket Council (ICC) in a bid to stamp out corruption.
Kaneria took 261 wickets in 61 Tests for Pakistan. He also had 15 wickets in 18 one-day internationals.