Former Pakistan leg-spinner Danish Kaneria has finally accepted his involvement in a spot-fixing scandal that resulted in the imprisonment of former Essex team-mate Mervyn Westfield back in 2012, Britain's Daily Mail reported on Wednesday.
Kaneria, who was handed a life ban by English cricket chiefs that effectively applied worldwide, said in an interview for an Al Jazeera television documentary quoted by the Mail: "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 have become strong enough to make this decision, because you cannot live a life with lies. I want to apologise to Mervyn Westfield, my Essex team-mates, my Essex cricket club, my Essex cricket fans. I say sorry to Pakistan," he added.
Westfield had to spend two months at Belmarsh prison in south-east London after accepting his guilt for taking £6,000 ($7,862) from an illegal bookmaker, Anu Bhatt, to give 12 runs in his first over of an English county 40-over game against Durham in 2009. Kaneria was the "middle-man" in the entire scandal, having introduced Westfield to Bhatt. Since the English legal authorities didn’t find enough evidence, Kaneria avoided the criminal charges back then.
"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," Kaneria said.
The tainted leggie said he didn’t have the courage to confess his wrongdoing then as his father was suffering from cancer.
"His health was getting worse and worse," Kaneria 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," he concluded.
Kaneria last played for Pakistan in 2010 and has not appeared in any first-class game since March 2012. In 61 Tests for Pakistan, Kaneria had taken 261 wickets at 34.79 with 15 five-wicket hauls to his name.
(With AFP inputs)