Former Pakistan player Danish Kaneria, who was banned for life for fixing in 2012, has finally admitted his wrong-doing, apologizing to his teammates, county club Essex and his country for bringing disrepute to the game.
The player, who had always denied his role in the scandal that broke out after his teammate Mervyn Westfield accepted 6,000 pounds for a bookie to concede 12 runs in the first over of the game between Essex and Durham in 2009, accepted that he was the "middle-man" in the scam, which had led to the imprisonment of Westfield for two months.
"My name is Danish Kaneria and I admit that I was guilty of the two charges brought against me by the England and Wales Cricket Board in 2012. I want to apologise to Mervyn Westfield, my Essex team-mates, my Essex cricket club, my Essex cricket fans. I say sorry to Pakistan," Kaneria was quoted as saying in a documentary by Al Jazeera,
Though Westfield had conceded only 10 runs in the said match, he had still accepted the money and though all suspicions had turned towards Kaneria, the English legal authorities dropped charges due to lack of evidence. However, international boards followed suit after the English and Wales Cricket Board issued a life ban on him.
Kaneria, now 37, is the lead spinner with 261 Test wickets. He last turned out for his country in 2010 at Trent Bridge and last played a competitive game in March 2012, after which he was banned. The player insisted that he was repentant and called for an overturn on his life ban.
"I want to ask people's forgiveness. Cricket has given me so much in my life and I want to give something back. If the ECB and ICC and other bodies would give me a second chance I can help to educate young people in cricket, teach them that if you do wrong you are finished like me."
The former player also revealed why he had feigned innocence for all these years. "My father was suffering from cancer when the news broke out. His health was getting worse and worse," he recalled. "I didn't have the courage to face him and tell him that I was wrong. He was a very, very proud guy. Very, very proud of me and what I did, representing Pakistan, representing my country. I want to apologise to my father, who has always been a role model for me."
Kaneria's father passed away in 2013.
Westfield however, who was banned for five years, accepted Kaneria's apology and hoped that the player would find closure after admitting his deeds. "This whole chapter of spot-fixing changed my life, but I have never blamed anyone for the terrible mistake I made. I hope that Danish finds peace and closure by doing this, and I wish him all the best for the future."
The 30-year-old has played club and minor county matches after his ban expired last year.