Westfield feels let down

  • Last Updated: April 22 2013, 18:43 BST

Banned cricketer Mervyn Westfield has claimed various bodies within the game did not do enough to prevent him falling into the world of corruption.

Mervyn Westfield: Sent to prison for spot-fixing

The former Essex seamer served two months of a four month prison sentence last year after admitting spot-fixing and was banned from professional cricket for five years.

The 24-year-old has spoken out now after being summoned to appear as a witness, against his wishes, at former team-mate Danish Kaneria's appeal hearing against his lifetime ban.

The England and Wales Cricket Board obtained a witness summons order from the High Court to force Westfield to attend to give evidence against Kaneria.

During his criminal trial last year, Westfield named Kaneria as the figure who induced him into accepting £6,000 from a bookmaker to underperform in a match in 2009.

That evidence was key to the ECB's case in imposing their life ban on former Pakistan leg-spinner Kaneria but, feeling he was harshly treated in return by the governing body in terms of his own ban, Westfield refused to cooperate further.

Kaneria's appeal hearing was due to take place last December but was postponed because Westfield did not attend.

With Kaneria's legal team arguing Westfield's original evidence was inadmissible at the appeal, the ECB took the last resort of an order to compel Westfield.

In a statement issued through his barrister, Yasin Patel, Westfield said: "My presence here today is the third time that my help and assistance has been sought in order to assist the English Cricket Board.

"I have made it abundantly clear to the ECB that I have no desire to participate in this hearing or to provide any further evidence to that which I had previously done in June 2012.

"The ECB has this time decided to take the hostile route in seeking the help of a High Court judge, who has signed a court summons in order to secure my attendance.

"As I understand, by not attending today, the ECB would return to the High Court and a warrant for my arrest would be requested.

"I am not sure what the ECB is hoping to gain by these actions.

"I have heard that Essex County Cricket Club, together with the English Cricket Board and the Professional Cricketers' Association were fully aware of the situation I was falling into but stood back until my involvement reached the point of my guilty conviction.

"No one wished to protect me at any stage. Where was their duty of care to me as a member of their staff?

"I am here today not because of the summons, nor because of any other party.

"My family have stood by me throughout the torture I have been made to live with this.

"No one else has given me any support despite all the promises a year ago.

"I am here to bring to an end the pain and suffering that I am forced to continuously suffer and in the hope that after today my family and I will never be subjected to the humiliation and hurt we have gone through in the last three years."

The ECB and Essex have declined to comment on Westfield's statement but the PCA has expressed surprise over the part which refers to the players' union.

Angus Porter, chief executive of the PCA, said: "I have read his statement and I think it is slightly confusing and it is not entirely clear what it is he is trying to say in that sentence.

"It is absolutely clear in my mind that nobody knew he was getting into anything until it was reported, at which point it was properly investigated.

"It is a very odd allegation and one I don't think would stand up if it was investigated.

"But I only take serious issue with it if he is actually alleging that we stood by and waited for him to get sucked in. I am not convinced that is what he is saying.

"I think it is quite a confused statement by a young man who is obviously feeling quite bitter about what has happened to him.

"I can understand him feeling that way. But he got himself into trouble and he is paying the penalty for that.

"We have offered to help him try to rehabilitate himself and that offer remains open."

Kaneria's appeal hearing, which is taking place at the International Dispute Resolution Centre in London, is expected to last until Thursday.