Kaneria's future in doubt

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The Independent Online

The future of Pakistan's Danish Kaneria in English cricket is in doubt as police continue to investigate claims that he and an Essex team-mate conspired in a match-rigging plot.

The 29-year-old leg-spinner, who took 75 wickets as Essex won promotion to the First Division of the County Championship last season, is due to resume his career in England next month after competing in a domestic competition in Pakistan as part of their preparations for this summer's tour of England.

But there may be a question mark over those plans after it was revealed that Essex police had been asked to look into alleged "match irregularities" concerning at least one match last season. The police statement, released through the England and Wales Cricket Board, gave no detail of players or specific games and Essex will make no comment until the investigation is concluded.

Kaneria has been named unofficially as one of the players involved. The other is believed to be a less senior member of the playing staff who is not playing in the current County Championship match against Hampshire at Chelmsford.

The investigation is thought to focus on a televised 40-over game at the end of last season. The suggestion is not that the match outcome was fixed but that a passage or passages of play may have been manipulated for betting purposes, a practise known as "spot-fixing".

This often involves such details as the number of wides or no-balls in one over or by one bowler. Bets of that nature are popular with gamblers in India, where English domestic games are frequently shown live.

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