Muhammad Asif Khan
KARACHI: Former Pakistan captain Rashid Latif claims to have identified ‘glaring’ ambiguities in the process which led to the life-ban on leg-spinner Danish Kaneria. “The ECB described Annu Bhatt as the Indian bookie, associated with Kaneria, but I have not found his name in the list of established India bookmakers. He [Annu Bhatt] was, in fact, a regular guest of Pakistan Cricket Board. India and England toured Pakistan in 2005 and 2006 respectively, and he [Annu] stayed in Pakistan as PCB’s guest on both the occasions”, claimed Rashid Latif while talking to this correspondent for News One TV.
“Even afterwards Annu Bhatt toured with the Pakistan team to Sri Lanka, South Africa and the West Indies”, added Latif, who is considered as the whistleblower against the match fixing in mid 90s.The disciplinary panel of the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) handed down a life-ban to Danish Kaneria for trapping the Essex county mate, Mervyn Westfield, into spot-fixing during a Pro40 match in September 2009. Kaneria has already filed an appeal in the Commercial High Court in London against the sentence.
Recalling the Essex Vs Durham pro40 encounter, Rashid Latif suspected that the match, which led to the inquiry, was seemingly dubious and could be a case of match-fixing rather then spot-fixing. “Westfield did what he had to for Essex but the way opposing team (Durham) played was dubious. Why Durham skipper did not let his two opening and most economical bowlers to deliver more than five overs each?” questioned Latif.
“Opening bowler Gidman cost 24 and Claydon gave away 27 runs in five overs, but the captain opted for Borthwick as seventh bowler who went for 63 runs in 4.5 overs. I fail to understand the philosophy behind this strategy”, added Latif“The seventh bowler was Borthwick, who is a 19-year old Irish all-rounder. Couldn’t he be vulnerable enough to get trapped?” asked Latif
Latif urged the ICC to hold a thorough probe into the match. “If the ECB can hold a spot-fixing inquiry into a 2009 county match, then why can’t a match-fixing probe into the same match be initiated now”, asked Latif.
Link of the pro40 match:
Rashid Latif, who claims to have studied Kaneria’s case thoroughly, further stated that during the appeal hearing in London, the main ECB witness, Westfield, was reluctant but was forced through the High Court in an ‘illegitimate’ manner. “Chris Walsh, the lawyer of the ECB, received an email from Wilf Lusty, the manager of the High Court whose responsibility was to summon Westfield. In the mentioned email Mr. Lusty sent the amended order [summon to Westfield] approved by the High Court Justice, Andrew Smith, asking Mr. Lusty to draw up a fresh order and email it back to him so that he could seal and return it to Walsh [the ECB lawyer]”, claimed Latif
“Can a High Court issue such order in consultation with one of the parties? Did the High Court Judge, who later summoned Westfield, know about these exchanges between his manager or clerk and the ECB lawyer”?, asked Latif
“My impression is that the plot was being set up to trap Danish Kaneria and bail Westfield out as well as to maintain the image of the English Cricket”, concludes Latif.