This week has seen former Essex and Pakistan bowler Danish Kaneria fail in his bid to overturn his lifetime ban from cricket at the High Court.
Kaneria, a tremendous spin bowler during his career, was banned from cricket for life in 2012 for the role he played in encouraging former Essex team-mate Mervyn Westfield to under-perform when he bowled. He was also charged with bringing the game into disrepute.
A disciplinary panel set up by the ECB in 2012 concluded that these allegations had been proven and an appeal panel which was set up in 2013 upheld the decision further.
Following this appeal panel decision Kaneria appealed to the High Court as he felt the panel were wrong to uphold the original decision of a lifetime ban and also disagreed with the fact that he was ordered to pay the legal costs of the ECB which were estimated to be around £200,000.
It was at the end of the 2009 season, in a one-day match between Essex and Durham, that Mervyn Westfield deliberately conceded runs in a specific over as part of a spot fixing scam. The pace bowler conceded 10 runs in an over and received £6,000 for doing so after being encouraged by Kaneria to do so. The ECB found Westfield guilty of these charges after he admitted the offence. He was jailed for four months in February 2012.
Unlike Kaneria Westfield did not receive a lifetime ban from cricket. He was banned for five years from professional cricket and has recently been allowed to resume his career by playing club cricket in Essex. Kaneria also felt that he had been treated differently by the ECB due to Westfield's lesser sentence.
Kaneria has continued to deny all charges relating to this incident and has continued a battle to overturn his worldwide ban but this latest decision from the High Court must surely be the end of the line for the former Essex player.
Kaneria is a great loss to cricket. His International career was very successful. He played 61 Tests between 2000 and 2010 and took 261 wickets which made him the most successful spinner in Pakistan history. His career now though is surely over for good.
Should players receive a lifetime ban for misdemeanours like these or should they be given the opportunity to play again? Should Kaneria and Westfield have been given the same punishment?
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