Speculation abounds as Danish Kaneria arrives in India with family
Though Kaneria insists that the visit is purely on religious grounds, doubts persist as what the former leg-spinner's real intentions are.
Former Pakistan leg-spinner Danish Kaneria, who has been banned by the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) in 2012 for his alleged involvement in spot-fixing while playing for English county side Essex, moved to India along with his family on Tuesday with speculation high regarding the reason behind the 35-year-old’s visit to the neighbouring nation.
While Kaneria himself and his brother Vicky maintained that the visit was purely on religious grounds and added that they would be returning back to their home country within ten days, reports have been circulating that Kaneria was planning to make the move permanent and earn a livelihood here in India.
"My family is in India to perform some religious rituals which will take around 10 days. Our return dates are not confirmed as yet," Kaneria told a television channel, as reported by the Times of India.
The reason for the speculation regarding Kaneria’s true intentions were comments allegedly attributed to him earlier this year wherein he seemed to make a plea to the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) to give him a final chance at overturning the ban imposed by the ECB. He had also alleged that he had been treated unfairly by his home country as he belonged to Hindu religion, a minority in Pakistan.
“I am living on my last savings. I do not know how long I will survive. I can even teach young Indians the art of spin, can’t I? Why can’t they call me? I am one of them,” Kaneria allegedly said in January, as reported by the Tribune. “It is because I am a Hindu, a minority in Pakistan. It is because I refused to admit my involvement in spot-fixing when the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) charged me. I want to be heard, is it very difficult to hear me out?”
However, the veteran of 62 Tests was quick to counter the published comments claiming that he had been misquoted.
“Yes I am very frustrated, hurt and against the wall but I remain a proud Pakistani. I just want to know what real evidence is there to ban me for life and why has the Pakistan board put my case aside,” Kaneria had said, as reported by the Indian Express. “No matter what happens why would I approach any other country for help. I can only again appeal to the PCB to give me a chance.”
That chance never came though and his worries only compounded when the ECB filed a case in the Sindh High Court (SHC) in March this year, seeking to recover £249,000 in fines from the 35-year-old. The court, in turn, had asked Kaneria to produce his bank statement and with Kaneria’s final plea to Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sherif also left unanswered, it seems the spinner has been left with no option but to seek a fresh life elsewhere.