Monday, November 29, 1999

Kaneria arrested on spot-fixing charges

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London, May 15 (IANS) Pakistan leg-spinner Danish Kaneria, who is playing for English county Essex, was arrested and later released on bail by Essex police following the police's investigation into alleged spot-fixing in his team's Pro40 match against Durham last September.Essex's young fast bowler Mervyn Westfield has also been arrested along with Kaneria.'Both men appeared at Brentwood police station Friday and were questioned under caution before being released on bail until Sept 15, pending further inquiries,' said a report in Daily Telegraph.As neither has yet been charged with any offence, both are free to continue playing cricket until then, by which time Pakistan will have completed their Test series against England. That should allow Pakistan's selectors to at least pick Kaneria.Essex police had wanted to interview Kaneria, 29, who has 58 Test caps for Pakistan, last Monday, three days after his return to England, but that was during Essex's County Championship match with Kent and the club asked if that could be deferred until Friday. Every other Essex player, as well as the support staff, have been helping police with their inquiries.Kaneria's performance in the match against Durham is not under scrutiny, but he is thought to have introduced Westfield, whose performance against Durham is under the microscope, to an illegal bookmaker,' the report claimed.Westfield, 22, has been interviewed before by police, who confiscated his mobile phone. He conceded 60 runs in seven overs in the 40-over match against Durham, with four wides and two no-balls.Essex police confirmed that their investigation, which began in March this year, followed allegations received. As these allegations are thought to have come from other players, it has made for an uncomfortable dressing room this season.Spot-fixing is when small events in the game are fixed, such as a wide or a dropped catch.'It is thought to be the vehicle favoured by India's illegal bookmakers to manipulate bets, in which millions of pounds are staked on the smallest shifts within a match, to their advantage,' the report said.

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