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Saturday, April 30, 2011

PCB rules out Kaneria's immediate return to Pakistan team

 The Pakistan Cricket Board has ruled out an immediate comeback for Danish Kaneria in the national team, insisting that the leg-spinner first had to satisfy PCB's integrity committee before he can be cleared for selection.

"We have been asking Danish to provide us with the statement he gave to the Essex police when he was under investigation in the spot-fixing scandal in county cricket last year. But so far he has not provided us with the statement," a PCB official told PTI.

Kaneria, only the second Hindu to play for Pakistan, has taken 261 wickets in 61 Tests and 15 scalps in 18 ODIs but has not played international cricket since last summer.

He was picked for the Test series against South Africa last November but the PCB stopped him from boarding a flight to Dubai to join the team.

He was also not given a new central contract by the PCB last month.

The Essex police last year held a three-month long investigation into allegations of spot-fixing against Kaneria and his Essex teammate, Mervyn Westfield during a Pro-40 match against Durham in the 2009 season.

Kaneria was arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to commit fraud on May 15 along with Westfield following the allegations but the Essex police later confirmed that the Pakistani cricketer will not face a criminal prosecution.

The Essex police, however, charged Westfield who is now facing a criminal trial.

"The Essex police didn't charge Kaneria but they have also not completed their investigations into the case and the trial is still going on," the PCB official said.

"They are only two ways for Kaneria to be considered for national selection again. First the police complete their investigations and conclude the case against Westfield without any more involvement from Kaneria or he has to show the integrity committee the statement he gave to the police during the course of the investigations," the official, who declined to be named, added.

Sources in the Pakistan team say there has been growing pressure on the selectors to consider Kaneria for the Test matches to be played this year against the West Indies, Zimbabwe, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.

The PCB official said despite several reminders Kaneria had refused to provide them with the statement.

"The last time we got an email from him stating that he had approached the police through his lawyer to obtain a copy of the statement but they refused to provide him with one, saying since the case involving Westfield was still on they can't allow the statement to be given to the PCB, which sounds strange to us," the official said.

"We don't know what is keeping Kaneria from atleast showing us a copy of the statement because if he has been interviewed it is our understanding that the police would provide a copy to that person or his lawyer," he said.

"He has given us a letter from the ICC saying that they were not investigating him and one from the Essex police that they had not charged him but that is not enough for us," the official added.

He said unless Kaneria provided a copy of the statement the leg-spinner could not be cleared for selection.
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