Danish Kaneria admits spot-fixing after six years and apologises to Essex

Kaneria spent six seasons at Essex and has apologised to the club and former team-mates
Kaneria, who spent six seasons at Essex, has now apologised to the club and former team-mates

Former Pakistan cricketer Danish Kaneria has admitted he spot-fixed after six years of denial.

The 37-year-old has also apologised to former Essex team-mate Mervyn Westfield, who was sent to jail after Kaneria encouraged him to spot-fix.

Essex Police say they are "currently reassessing the investigation" following Kaneria's admission.

Kaneria, who was banned from playing in England and Wales for life, says he "cannot live a life with lies".

"It's been six years. I lost everything," the leg-spinner told Al Jazeera.

"I lost friends, respect from fans.

"I want to apologise to Mervyn Westfield, my Essex team-mates, Essex Cricket Club and the fans, to Pakistan and my fans around the world. And to my wife and family - I have let them all down."

'I can educate people'

Kaneria was found to have pressured Westfield - who was handed a four-month prison sentence - into agreeing to concede 12 runs during an over of a one-day game for Essex against Durham in 2009.

Kaneria was banned for life and described as "a grave danger to the game of cricket" by the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB), who also banned Westfield for five years.

In 2014, Kaneria told BBC Sport he had not pressured Westfield and said if given the chance, he would ask his former team-mate why he had chosen to "destroy" his career.

But he now says he knew Westfield - who received a £6,000 payment for his role - wanted to "become a rich cricketer".

In reflecting on his denial of the crime, Kaneria says the ill-health of his father around the time of the spot-fixing scandal had been an influence.

"His health was getting worse and worse," added Kaneria. "I didn't have the courage to face him and tell him that I had done wrong. He was so proud of me and it would have caused him a lot of suffering."

Kaneria took 261 Test wickets for Pakistan - a figure only bettered by Wasim Akram, Waqar Younis and Imran Khan.

He exhausted all legal option in appealing against his lifetime ban but hopes he can return to the sport in order to "give something back", and asks for "people's forgiveness".

Kaneria added: "If the ECB, International Cricket Council and other bodies would give me a second chance, I can help to educate young people in cricket, teach them that if you do wrong, you are finished, like me."

Kaneria's spot-fixing timeline...

February 2009: Essex play Durham in a 40-over match

February 2012: Westfield is jailed for four months, of which he served two, for spot-fixing in that game. During the trial Kaneria was accused of applying "pressure" on Westfield to underperform for money

April 2012: Westfield and Kaneria are charged by the ECB for "alleged breaches of anti-corruption directives"

June 2012: Kaneria receives lifetime cricket ban while Westfield is suspended for five years

December 2012: Kaneria's appeal against the verdict is deferred

April 2013: Rearranged ECB appeal hearing sees Kaneria fail to overturn spot-fixing finding

August 2014: Kaneria's application to appeal his ban is deemed to be "totally without merit" and rejected by the Court of Appeal.

October 2018: Kaneria finally comes clean after six years of denials

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