The England and Wales Cricket Board could face a costly counter-claim from Danish Kaneria because of a delay in hearing the spinner’s appeal against his lifetime ban for fixing.
The former Pakistan player’s hearing was originally scheduled for December but was postponed at the last minute and the new date in April is now in doubt.
Witness Mervyn Westfield, the spinner’s former county team-mate, has reportedly been tough to track down and is key to the ECB case, leaving Kaneria’s legal team optimistic about over-turning the ban and raising the possibility of seeking compensation.
Kaneria’s lawyer, Farogh Naseem said: “We will definitely seek compensation from the ECB. Not only have they delayed the procedure, but they refused to allow an interim measure until it was decided.
“Kaneria should have been allowed to continue to play and earn a living while the matter was settled. I don’t want to disclose the figure, but we will seek very substantial damages from the ECB. If the ECB rely upon a witness, that witness should be available for cross-examination. If he is not, then his evidence can hold no weight. Without him they have no case. Clearly we are taking a different stance on this to the ECB and, ultimately, I expect the matter to be decided by the High Court in London.”
Kaneria was banned by an ECB disciplinary panel last June after being named at the Old Bailey as the player who corrupted bowler Westfield, who was imprisoned for four months last year for accepting money to under perform in a one-day match in 2009.
Kaneria, 32, was also said to have been handed a £100,000 bill for the governing body’s costs, while Westfield was banned from cricket for five years. He can play club cricket in the final two years of his suspension but is believed to have severed his ties with the sport.
Kaneria’s ban, as it came from the ECB, related to the game on these shores but became effective worldwide because all boards have an agreement to respect suspensions handed down by their counterparts, so he has been prevented from playing domestic cricket in Pakistan.
Kaneria was described by the panel which banned him as “a grave danger to cricket” after last year’s hearing but Naseem, talking to ESPNcricinfo, said: “He is a young man with a promising career ahead of him and he could be utilised by Pakistan and other teams around the world.
“As a leg-spinner, he is the master of a dying art and it is in the interest of the game of cricket that he should play.”