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Former Essex player charged with fraud

September 16, 2010 19:47 IST

Former Essex county cricketer Mervyn Westfield has been charged with fraud over allegations that he deliberately bowled badly in a domestic match last year, prosecutors said on Thursday.

"I have advised that Mervyn Westfield should be charged with one count of conspiracy to defraud for intentionally playing other than to the best of his ability, contrary to his contractual obligations," Crown Prosecution Service lawyer Antony Swift said in a statement.

"It is alleged that he dishonestly agreed to bowl his first over to allow the scoring of a certain number of runs at a match between Durham and Essex on 5 September 2009," he added.

Cricket is facing a crisis over allegations of spot-fixing of incidents in the international game.

The International Cricket Council (ICC) this month suspended Pakistan's Salman Butt, Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Amir for their alleged involvement in fixing no-balls during a test match against England at Lord's last month.

Fast bowler Westfield will appear at City of London magistrates' court on September 23.

"We are very saddened by the news that Mervyn has been charged by Essex Police," Essex County Cricket Club said in a statement on their website (www.essexcricket.org.uk).

"We have not been privy to any of the evidence collected by the authorities which is why no action was taken against the player whilst the enquiries were ongoing. Clearly the police now feel they have sufficient evidence to proceed.

"A decision was taken some weeks ago that Mervyn's playing contract was not to be renewed with the club for 2011. This decision was made purely on cricketing grounds and was not influenced in any way by the ongoing inquiry. He leaves the employment of the club on 30th September 2010."

Pakistan leg-spinner Danish Kaneria was cleared earlier this month of betting allegations relating to the same Essex match, his lawyer told Reuters.

Source:
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