Why was Danish Kaneria banned for life but Mohammad Amir restored?

Published: February 28, 2016
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Danish Kaneria, the second Hindu to be serving in Pakistan cricket team, took forth the legacy of Pakistani leg-spin bowlers. His contributions to the team include taking the most number of wickets. With the right amount of height, he had the power to turn the ball according to his whim, effortlessly. PHOTO: AFP

When it comes to cricket, Pakistan has something or the other for everyone. Cricket is food for soul for a majority of Pakistanis, so it is understandable when the populace reacts to unjust happenings to cricketers who have held important places in not just the Pakistan cricket team but also in the hearts of thousands of Pakistani cricket fans.

On a similar note is the story of Danish Kaneria. The right-arm leg-spinner ranked fourth in most number of wickets taken in international matches following the likes of Wasim Akram, Waqar Younis and Imran Khan, is currently living under the ban imposed upon him in 2012 due to allegations of spot-fixing.

Danish Kaneria, the second Hindu to be serving in the Pakistan cricket team, took forth the legacy of Pakistani leg-spin bowlers. His contributions to the team include taking the most number of wickets. With the right amount of height, he had the power to turn the ball according to his whim, effortlessly.

Photo: AFP

Kaneria, 35, was sentenced to a life ban by an English disciplinary panel for spot-fixing in June 2012 while playing a match for Essex. Danish Kaneria’s story erupted on to the stage when Mervyn Westfield, an Essex bowler was found guilty of spot-fixing and was suspended from cricket. While pleading for his case and to save his own neck, he accused Danish Kaneria of being the middleman in his corrupt activity of spot-fixing.

Now, as injustice has its way of destroying the innocent, upon Mervyn Westfield’s accusations, Danish Kaneria was banned for life from the one thing that he loved doing most; cricket. Not just from international cricket but also from domestic cricket, depriving not just the player but also his fans from experiencing the best of cricket.

Photo: AFP

Anything that we know for sure is that the allegations resulting in the life ban of Kaneria were never proven guilty. The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) had no hard or soft evidence to prove those allegations or base their punishment on. All they were relying on was a verdict of a convicted player. Besides that the local police did not find any illegal amount in his bank accounts nor did the judge ask the police to re-investigate the case.

As far as the allegations of Kaneria hooking up Westfield with a bookie is concerned, there is more to the story than what we were told by the media. Danish Kaneria was introduced to the bookie, Anu Butt by Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) manager, Asad Mustafa during a 2005 West-Indies tour. Not only Kaneria but other well-known players were also introduced to him.

Danish Kaneria with his son.
Photo: AFP

Being an ardent cricket fan, what didn’t appeal to my rationality is the fact that three other Pakistani players were caught red-handed for spot-fixing and after completion of their respective punishments, they are now back on the playing field.

Why is this trio being allowed to play, despite being caught red-handed and spoiling the name of Pakistan? Is it because of pressure? Or because of their strong backgrounds? How can we forget their past especially when they denied their activities until proven guilty? My question is, why is Kaneria being kept off-ground? Is it because he belongs to a minority group? Especially when the allegations against him could not be proven. What makes for such a strong opposition case for Kaneria that his appeals against ECB’s decision were denied, not once but twice?

How they so easily separate a soul from a body and cricket fans from cricketers is beyond me.

I would want to question the media and especially PCB’s role in standing up for Kaneria. PCB took the main role in fighting for Mohammad Amir’s case and made sure that he returned to his due place in the field.

Why is the PCB not taking charge of handling Kaneria’s case?

Why is the PCB not forming a panel that can put Kaneria back into the field by talking about Kaneria’s version of the story?

Or is this another one of the many ‘prejudiced’ cases because the person in question does not belong to the ‘mainstream’ group so will automatically be subject to the discrimination that scars this country’s face?

Every story has two sides, but in Kaneria’s case we only know about the side that the media told us. We have yet to hear Kaneria’s version of the story.

Another interesting fact is that Kaneria being a Pakistani player was charged, tried and punished in England and who knows how fairly the events took place. Danish Kaneria, however, still has faith in the ECB and believes they will restore justice and save him from starving himself.

As much as PCB’s role is concerned, I think they can take measures to allow Kaneria to play domestic cricket, coach in academies, train young talent and earn enough to sustain his family instead of starving him out in the street considering the way he has been reduced to nothing in a tiny doubtful moment. I would request the higher authorities, especially the patron chief to look into the matter.

Bilal Shaikh

Bilal Shaikh

The author has done his BBA and is currently working in a textile company. He is interested in cricketers profile. He tweets at @Billoo14 (twitter.com/Billoo14)

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • Bana Post

    He can play if he converted in to IslamRecommend

  • Sami

    Because Danish was caught twice. Second time he faced a ban by ECB ( England Cricket Board). Kindly stop making it a fuss about it. When you are banned by two Cricket boards ( ECB and PCB ) then something is seriously wrong with you. You are a serial offender. Kindly stop bringing religion into it to earn some sympathies and ratings.Recommend

  • ajeet

    Danish doesn’t belong to Religion of peace and that’s the only reasonRecommend

  • vijay2day

    Very well written without any prejudice to cast or community. Hats off to Bilal Shaikh for this piece of article. I request the PCB to look into D. Kaneria’s case and absolve him from the wrong charges against him. Now lets see how fast they do that?Recommend

  • Keyboard Soldier

    He does not know how to play the game right. He should take life lessons from M. Yousaf.

    He might want to think about converting and then joining a political party for any possible career in a place like pakistan.

    In pakistan no one can challenge the mullah, as he is powerful.Recommend

  • Pure Ind

    Well its pretty simple, he is a Hindu & no wonder why there are different yard sticks for him & others, I know my Pakistani friends will surely differ but deep down thats the truth.Recommend

  • SuperNeo™

    Because he is hindu. Being non muslim in Pakistan and expecting equal rights is impossible.
    Even muslim cricketers like waism akram ,waqar younis ,saqulain mushtaq had to leave country.
    This should have left Pakistan long back.
    One more human life wasted .Recommend

  • Pure Ind

    Well its a clear case of discrimination with Danish, surely one cant reason out why because repeated offenders like Asif are allowed back but not Danish??
    Strange why this double standards may be as people claim that it might be due to his religion which is a minority??Recommend

  • Z

    The trio were also charged,tried and punished in England. They came back because they plead guilty and apologized. Kaneria keeps denying the charges and plays religious discrimination card.Recommend

  • Truth

    Because you are jealous of Mohammad Amir. Relax and watch him rip through Indian batsmen haha.Recommend

  • Nasser

    Agree 100% with the blogger. Kaneria has been victimised.Recommend

  • Abrar Faisal

    Its not due to Hindu or Muslim issue; ICC constitution says that if a full member bans a player all other boards/members are bound to oblige the ruling (its not up to choice its compulsory) Kaneria was banned by ECB and not by ICC as in case of Amir/Butt or Asif ; PCB did not punished/sentenced Amir/Asif or butt because they thought ICC punishment was enough; if PCB would have decided to ban Amir for life even ICC can’t lift that; Kaneria was accused of fixing in county cricket hence ECB banned him as its in their jurisdiction, its just a simple matter of common sense/general knowledge; I don’t know why it has been blown out of proportion by media in Pakistan, on a personal note I think he deserve 2nd chance but its upto ECB to lift the ban; anyone else can’t do anything; Kaneria took ECB to court and lost the case which means there should be some substantial proof against him ; plain logic

    Seems like Mr Bilal either has a low IQ level or spreading hate on some mischievous agendaRecommend

  • MRN

    “Now, as injustice has its way of destroying the innocent, upon Mervyn Westfield’s accusations, Danish Kaneria was banned for life from the one thing that he loved doing most; cricket.”

    Come on !! do you really believe the authority banning him is no naive?
    Very biased article. I mean no authority bans someone just because an other guilty player said so…Recommend

  • Fahimuddin

    There are several players who got banned in Pakistan and one of them is DanishRecommend

  • Bilal Sheikh

    No one has any hard and soft evidence regarding Kaneria. Why would he plead guilty? Even the police did not find any illegal amount in his accountsRecommend

  • Istaburg

    So denying a charge means that you are guilty till proven innocent ??? Really???…. thats not how it works. If there is just allegations then he deserves the same chance as the other 3. If he is convicted and proven beyond doubt by court … then it is a different story.Recommend