KARACHI/MUMBAI - AGENCIES/BIPIN DANI -  The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) is conducting an internal inquiry against Director Marketing Badar Rafayi after he was seen at a private match with banned Test player Danish Kaneria in Houston, US.
Despite a lifetime ban from the English and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) for spot-fixing, Kaneria reportedly played at least one match of the Friendship T20 series, that ran through April 11-13. Apart from Kaneria, several Pakistan international players like Nasir Jamshed, Wahab Riaz, Abdul Razzaq and Fawad Alam took part in the event.
The 33-year-old leg-spinner represented Pakistan in 61 Tests and 18 ODIs. He was banned at the peak of his career — with 261 Test wickets that included 15 five-wicket hauls. Kaneria is now awaiting a decision on his ban after a hearing in London High Court’s Commercial Court. The verdict is due this week Recently, the leg-spinner had accused the ECB for treating him unjustly while adding that they had taken away his livelihood.
“The board will conduct an internal inquiry into the matter of Rafayi seen in pictures with Kaneria,” a PCB official told Our Sourcess. “Several eyebrows have been raised over the fact that a senior board official was seen with Kaneria during a cricket series. The PCB will deal with the matter in order to curtail any unnecessary controversy.”
The official added that the board may also interrogate the other Pakistani players for participating in an event where a banned player was playing. He stressed that even though the players have a right to earn money, they must avoid such tournaments as it could harm their reputation. Last year, the International Cricket Council had raised objections when another banned Pakistani player , Mohammad Asif, went to play in a club match in Norway on the invitation of some local organisers.
While the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chairman Najam Sethi is reported to have ordered probe for the Pakistan players’ participation with banned player Danesh Kaneria in a private USA league, the presence of one Indian player , though relatively unknown, went unnoticed .
Asad Pathan, the 30-year-old top order Gujarat batsman, also participated in the USA Friendship Cup Twenty20 competition, confirms Siva Narapareddy, Vice President of the organisation in USA.
Pathan has played two list A games for Gujarat and 24 T20 matches for Gujarat and Railways teams. He was also a part of Royal Challengers Bangalore team in the 2011 IPL season, where he played six matches.
“Asad Pathan has not found place even in the probable list,” Vijay Patel, the Gujarat coach says over telephone from Ahmedabad. “We are unaware about his participation in the so-called Friendship Cup matches in USA with the Pakistan players”, Rajesh Patel, the Gujarat Cricket Association (GCA) secretary, said from Ahmedabad.
Later, speaking over telephone from Ankleshwar, Gujarat, Asad says: “I did play one or two matches for one of the 12 teams in the Friendship Cup, where Danesh Kaneria played for some other team. There was no match I played between our two teams.”
“Initially, I was unaware about Kaneria’s participation . Even I was not sure of taking part in this competition. I was in USA for some other work, where I was asked to participate for one team, the name of my team is also not known to me. My team had few local doctors. I was asked by my friend Lokesh Karia to participate,” he added.
Asad is a hard-hitting Twenty20 specialist batsman, having experience of playing in South Africa. He is unlikely to face any action by the Indian cricket board .