Kaneria arrested in spot-fixing allegation: UK paper

LONDON: Danish Kaneria, Es+++''s wrist spinner, and young fast bowler Mervyn Westfield have been arrested by Es+++ police on suspicion of conspiracy to commit fraud following the police''s investigation into alleged spot-fixing in Es+++''s Pro40 match against Durham last September, a UK paper reported today.

Both men appeared at Brentwood police station on Friday and were questioned under caution before being released on bail until Sept 15, pending further inquiries.

As neither has yet been charged with any offence, both are free to continue playing cricket until then, by which time Pakistan will have completed their Test series against England. That should allow Pakistan''s selectors to at least pick Kaneria, with only a modicum of controversy hanging over him.

That series needs Kaneria, though the England and Wales Cricket Board, as full signatories to the International Cricket Council''s anti-corruption code, will be torn over his presence.

Es+++ police had wanted to interview Kaneria, 29, who has 58 Test caps for Pakistan, last Monday, three days after his return to England, but that was during Es+++''s County Championship match with Kent and the club asked if that could be deferred until yesterday. Every other Es+++ player, as well as the support staff, have been helping police with their inquiries.

Kaneria''s performance in the match against Durham is not under scrutiny, but he is thought to have introduced Westfield, whose performance against Durham is under the microscope, to an illegal bookmaker.

Westfield, 22, has been interviewed before by police, who confiscated his mobile phone. He conceded 60 runs in seven overs in the 40-over match against Durham, with four wides and two no-balls.

Es+++ police confirmed that their investigation, which began in March this year, followed allegations received. As these allegations are thought to have come from other players, it has made for an uncomfortable dressing room this season.