Westfield charged over fraud claims

The former Essex fast bowler Mervyn Westfield was accused of fraud yesterday over claims he deliberately played poorly as part of a gambling swindle.

The Crown Prosecution Service said Westfield, of Chelmsford, had been charged with conspiracy to defraud. The 22-year-old fast bowler faces claims that he acted dishonestly during a 40-over match between Durham and Essex on 5 September 2009.

Police investigated allegations surrounding spot betting, whereby bets are made on specific occurrences in a game. It is alleged that he agreed to bowl his first over in such a way as to allow a certain number of runs to be scored.

Westfield conceded 60 runs in seven overs during the match, with four wides and two no-balls. It was broadcast live around the world. A second player, Essex and Pakistan leg-spinner Danish Kaneria, 29, was questioned over the claims but was told last week he will face no further action.