Kaneria barred from joining Pakistan team in UAE

By Awais Saleem, IANS,

Islamabad : Pakistan’s preparations for the Test series against South Africa in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) received a setback when the country’s cricket board Sunday refused to grant him clearance for joining the rest of his teammates in Dubai.

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No official reason has been given for disallowing him to board the scheduled flight to Dubai Sunday morning with four players — Azhar Ali, Taufeeq Umar, Mohammad Sami and Mohammad Yousaf — who are also part of the Test side.

“The director international cricket of PCB, Zakir Khan said that Danish has not been given clearance by the board,” GEO TV said.

Earlier, pacer Sohail Tanveer was also barred from joining the Test squad without any reason despite the fact that he claimed 15 wickets in the first two domestic matches of the ongoing Quaid-i-Azam trophy.

Kaneria had also taken 18 wickets in two games and is the most successful Pakistani spinner with 261 wickets to his name in 61 tests. The last-minute development is bound to fuel speculation over the reasons of the sudden u-turn and it is believed to have something to do with the spot-fixing allegations against Kaneria during the last county season.

Kaneria was the subject of a criminal investigation through the summer by Essex police over allegations that he was involved in spot-fixing during a county game. The investigations began in May but Kaneria was cleared by the police in September.

It is understood that the PCB does not want to take a chance as the International Cricket Council (ICC) has written a strongly-worded letter to the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) with a warning to put domestic cricket in order and to check corruption in the game. The report in this regard is expected to be released within the next 24 hours.

Kaneria last played for Pakistan in the Trent Bridge Test against England in August. Following the troubled tour to Britain, three Pakistani players — Salman Butt, Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Aamer — were also withdrawn from the squad and are currently facing ICC investigation on charges of spot-fixing in the Lords test match.

A sting operation of British newspaper “News of the World” showed an alleged bookie, Mazhar Majeed taking money on behalf of the players to bowl no-balls during the match as per prediction. The appeals of Salman and Aamer against the suspension were also turned down during the hearing in Qatar a week ago while Asif had withdrawn his appeal prior to the hearing.