PCB maintains its position on Saleem, asks Kaneria to approach ECB for clearance

Updated 11 Jul 2020

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Right-handed veteran batsman Saleem, who played 103 Tests and 283 ODIs for Pakistan, was handed a life ban by the one-man judicial commission of retired Justice Malik Qayyum. — AFP/File
Right-handed veteran batsman Saleem, who played 103 Tests and 283 ODIs for Pakistan, was handed a life ban by the one-man judicial commission of retired Justice Malik Qayyum. — AFP/File

LAHORE: While the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has stuck to its stance against banned ex-Pakistan captain Saleem Malik, it has advised former Test leg-spinner Danish Kaneria to approach the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) to get himself cleared from the spot-fixing charges.

“The Pakistan Cricket Board was approached by Mr Danish Kaneria and Mr Saleem Malik on unrelated and separate matters. After carefully reviewing and studying both their requests, the PCB has responded to the two former cricketers,” read the PCB press release issued on Friday.

Right-handed veteran batsman Saleem, who played 103 Tests and 283 ODIs for Pakistan, was handed a life ban by the one-man judicial commission of retired Justice Malik Qayyum, which the PCB also implemented, in a match-fixing probe in the year 2000.

The 39-year-old Kaneria, who played 61 Tests and 18 ODIs for Pakistan from 2000 to 2010, was slapped with a life ban by the ECB in 2012 for spot-fixing in a 2009 English county match featuring Essex which the spinner represented.

Addressing Saleem’s request, the release said, “You chose not to respond to the contents of the transcripts of a conversation that took place in April 2000. In the backdrop of the above, the PCB will be unable to proceed any further until such time you respond on the said matter.

“The denial and avoidance to respond to the transcripts doesn’t change the admission when, in a 5 May, 2014 letter to the then PCB chairman, you wrote: ‘Sir, after consultations and on my free will, I have reached a decision that I am ready to accept my wrongdoing, apologise to the fans and want to start by rehabilitation process. I fully understand the consequence of my decision and am ready to cooperate to every extent with ICC and PCB for my rehabilitation program. I would request the PCB to talk to the ICC if required and start my rehabilitation program at the earliest’.”

Responding to Kaneria’s request, the PCB release said, “You [Danish Kaneria] were banned for life by the ECB’s Cricket Discipline Commission after it was established that you had ‘knowingly induced or encouraged Mervyn Westfield not to perform on his merits in the Durham match.

“You subsequently challenged the decision before the Appeal Panel of the Cricket Disciplinary Commission, which was upheld. Then, you appealed before a commercial bench of the High Court in London, which was dismissed. Then, you appealed before the Court of Appeal (Civil Division), which was rejected,” the press release said.

The release further said, “The PCB’s rehabilitation programme is offered to players upon conclusion of the respective periods of ineligibility and not for players who are serving life bans.

“The life ban was imposed by the ECB and upheld by all ICC Members as per Article 9 of the ICC/PCB Anti-Corruption Code, and the only way it could have been overturned was by way of appeal, an avenue which have already been explored.

“Article 6.8 of the ECB Anti-Corruption Code, which is applicable in this case, clearly states only the chair of the anti-corruption tribunal, which has imposed a period of ineligibility on a player, had the discretion to permit the player to participate.

“As such, you are advised to approach the ECB as per Article 6.8 of the ECB Anti-Corruption Code,” read the press release.

Even though Saleem was cleared by a civil court in 2008, the PCB charged him again after receiving a transcript, of his objectionable conversation, from the ICC. The conversation is said to have taken place in the UK in 2000.

Though Saleem responded to the fresh charge in his reply he sent to the PCB last month, the latter declared it as unsatisfactory and advised him to give a proper reply to the said charge.

Talking to Dawn, Saleem said last month he had replied to the above charge but now the PCB had come again with a new thing, quoting his apology he had tendered in 2014, just to get himself cleared.

“In 2014, I literally wept in front of the PCB officials to get myself cleared from the charges as my children have grown up and my career has already been ruined due to the life ban,” he said.

“I met then PCB chairman Najam Sethi, then COO Subhan Ahmed and PCB lawyer Taffazul Rizvi and I was crying for mercy. The COO and the lawyer advised me to tender an apology and they will try to get me cleared from the pending inquiry on the ICC transcript.”

Saleem had claimed that when he was fighting his case in the civil court, neither the PCB nor the ICC presented any transcript against him before that court. But once he was cleared by the court, this (transcript-related) emerged. “Still I am away from the game of cricket, which is my bread and butter,” Saleem stated.

However, a PCB official on the condition of anonymity told Dawn that though the transcript case was lying with the ICC, the game’s governing body did not raise it because Saleem was already facing a life ban.

But when ex-PCB chairman Ijaz Butt appointed Saleem as coach at the NCA in 2010, the ICC brought up the case and stopped the PCB from appointing Saleem, saying an inquiry was pending against him.

Published in Dawn, July 11th, 2020