Banned former Essex bowler Mervyn Westfield cleared to play minor counties cricket
- Credit: Picture: Steve Waller
Banned former Essex bowler Mervyn Westfield has been cleared to return to second XI and minor counties cricket a year ahead of schedule.
In 2012, the paceman was banned from all cricket for five years and sentenced to four months in prison after pleading guilty to a spot-fixing offence in a 2009 one-day fixture against Durham.
His ban runs until February 16, 2017 and while he remains prevented from playing for a first XI County Championship team until that date, the terms of his exclusion have been relaxed by the Cricket Discipline Commission (CDC) in light of his contribution to anti-corruption initiatives.
A statement from the CDC said: “The Cricket Discipline Commission today announced that the former Essex cricketer Mervyn Westfield will be allowed to play Minor Counties and First Class Second XI cricket from the start of this season.”
Westfield, now 27, was charged along with former Essex and Pakistan spinner Danish Kaneria after accepting a £6,000 payment for agreeing to concede 12 runs from his first over in the Pro40 match in September 2009 – even though Durham actually managed only 10.
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Kaneria was later banned from cricket for life, having been found guilty of recruiting Westfield into spot-fixing.
Westfield was allowed to return to club cricket in 2014 and has played for Frinton-on-Sea Cricket Club in Essex for the last two seasons.
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He has appeared at the Professional Cricketers’ Association’s (PCA) pre-season rookie camp as well as at a recent event in South Africa to help educate players on the threat of corruption, earning him some leniency from the CDC.
The statement continued: “The CDC Panel ruled that Westfield must continue to serve the remainder of his five-year ban from first-class county cricket because strong deterrent sentences continue to play an important role in the wider fight against corruption in cricket.
“But it agreed to vary his sentence to allow him to play at a lower level after acknowledging the important contribution he has made to joint ECB and PCA anti-corruption initiatives, including a recent trip to South Africa to support a player education programme.”