Essex player Mervyn Westfield gets jail sentence over spot-fixing

The sordid saga of match fixing has come to haunt cricket once again. An English cricketer who claimed to have been lured into a spot-fixing scandal by Pakistan international Danish Kaneria was jailed for four months on Friday. According to newspapers report, former Essex player Mervyn Westfield had admitted receiving £6,000 ($9,200) to bowl badly so that 12 runs would be scored in the first over of a 40-over match between Durham and Essex in September 2009.

“Westfield was ordered to serve half the four-month term behind bars while he was also hit with a confiscation order for £6,000 during today's sentencing hearing at the Old Bailey. Prosecutors had earlier told the court that Westfield, 23, became embroiled in the scam after an approach by Kaneria. Prosecutor Nigel Peters QC said the deal emerged after another Essex player, Tony Palladino, showed Westfield “the most money he had ever seen”. Kaneria was arrested in connection with the case in 2010 but later released without charge,” says a Tribune report.

Meanwhile, tickets have been sold out for Sachin Tendulkar’s last tie in Sydney. Over 22,000 tickets have been sold for what is slated to be Sachin Tendulkar’s last international match in Sydney. Tendulkar, however, is not certain to play in the game, taking into account India’s rotation policy over its top order. Cricket New South Wales expects a crowd of at least 35,000 for the Sydney game, which also will be this season's last international match in the city.

According to a report in The Times Of India, Indian team returned to training on a confortable Friday afternoon and their main focus was on physical training and fielding. No one batted and bowled in the two hours that MS Dhoni and his team spent on the field.  After some limbering and stretching, the team practised fielding and catching. The young brigade of Virat Kohli, Suresh Raina, Rohit Sharma and Ravindra Jadeja, besides others, was given some full-blooded hits to catch and throw. Sachin Tendulkar had a light training day and spent a lot of time discussing with coach Duncan Fletcher.

In the meantime, Michael Clarke hasn’t recovered fully and will miss the Australia’s weekend ODI against India, allowing George Bailey to join the squad, Cricket Australia said on Friday. Ricky Ponting will again lead the side in Brisbane on Sunday.

Meanwhile, Sri Lanka captain Mahela Jayawardene was all praise for his bowlers after beating Australia, saying, “Our bowlers can bowl in different conditions. They are capable of adapting well to various conditions. When those two catches went down, I wondered if this was again one of those days, but we pulled it back really well,” he said.

There are news that Australian pacer Ryan Harris is mulling retirement from Tests as chronic injuries are taking a toll on his body. Harris said he may have to soon bid goodbye to Test cricket to keep his hopes alive in at least one form of the shorter versions of the game.