While the investigations into and subsequent proceedings against Kaneria & Westfield were going on, Yates wondered what sort of advice Westfield in particular was receiving. In particular Yates was wondering just how conciliatory towards the ECB Westfield had been.
An attitude of acceptance that wrong had been done and a desire to try and put some things right by helping to educate others would surely have been a sensible way to go. While we do not know everything that was said in the ECB’s hearings over Westfield, we do know that he was banned from first-class cricket for five years and recreational cricket for three in addition to the time he had already served at Her Majesty’s pleasure.
It may have looked a harsh penalty, as if the ECB were making an example out of Westfield. The player himself has let it be known that he feels hard done by but today’s statements at the Kaneria hearing may shed some welcome light on matters.
Kaneria had previously been named as Westfield’s corrupter in court. The ECB’s life ban on Kaneria is acknowledged by all ICC governed boards so is effectively a worldwide ban from the game. The hearing today is Kaneria’s appeal against that ban. The ECB had to subpoena Westfield to attend this hearing.
Westfield issued an angry statement today, lashing out at Essex, the ECB and the PCA and trying to blame them for the mess he found himself in. Comments from Angus Porter of the PCA show things in a different light.
It appears to Yates that for whatever reason, Westfield has made no effort to be conciliatory towards the ECB and accept the help of the PCA. If Westfield truly loved the game and was genuine in any desire to continue playing at any level then surely he would have offered to educate others through making a series of interviews and materials with the PCA?
If Westfield had made such an offer previously then he could have embarrassed the ECB and the PCA previously by saying that he had done so and had no positive response from them. Yates is no lawyer but if he can reason this way then why on earth can’t Westfield’s advisors? That said, Salman Butt has argued that he had done nothing wrong. An English Court thought differently.
Yates has seen people in power speaking of “offering support” and then doing bugger all to help those to whom they have offered the “support”, so is not without a touch of understanding of part of Westfield’s position. But to claim the ECB are the ones who have been hostile when Westfield has refused the help of the PCA and refused to come and repeat his evidence is very poor form. Is that the act of someone feeling shame and regret? As Westfield’s QC said in his trial:
The shame and regret he feels is evidenced at least in part by his admissions as to his involvement to this court
It’s a pity that this shame and regret and any love Westfield still has for the game did not motivate him to do the right thing and return to give evidence again.
One of Angus Porter’s comments was very clear:
I hope he reflects he’s in this position because he got himself into this position.
Mike Selvey is harsher in his assessment, one which Yates agrees with:
“Not my fault” is a common defence of a feeble criminal. We take responsibility for our own actions in this world.
The ECB may well have been harsh, but as Angus Porter said, we can understand why. Westfield’s apparent lack of conciliatory action has not helped him in the slightest. No words of apology appear anywhere in his statement, no recognition of damage being done to the game and no desire to help put things right.
Until those start appearing there should be no place for him in cricket.