Monday, 17 October 2011

Ex-Pakistan cricket captain Salman Butt says he believed agent's explanation of fixing request

LONDON - Former Pakistan cricket captain Salman Butt told a court in London on Monday why he did not report his agent to authorities for asking him to fix matches.

Butt, taking the witness stand for the first time on the ninth day of the alleged spot-fixing trial also involving bowler Mohammad Asif, told Southwark Crown Court how agent Mazhar Majeed sent him text messages asking for help in fixing elements of a game against South Africa at the Twenty20 World Cup in 2010.
He was also later asked about the times Majeed asked him to fix aspects of a test match against England at The Oval last year. All international cricketers receive training and advice on anti-corruption matters and are bound by contracts to report such activity.
Butt and Asif are facing charges of conspiracy to cheat, and conspiracy to obtain and accept corrupt payments, following the match in August 2010 when they allegedly conspired with Majeed, teenage fast bowler Amir and other people unknown to bowl pre-planned no-balls. Butt and Asif deny the charges.
Butt's comments came on the heels of the prosecution's eight-day opening. Butt, responding to questions from his lawyer Ali Bajwa provided the background to the messages that followed Pakistan's woeful 2009-10 tour of Australia when the team lost every match.
"He would say before a game 'give me something,'" Butt told the court. "I didn't like it and I felt bad about it. I told him we are not what you are thinking of us. We don't lose intentionally. But it didn't make any difference to him."
Ahead of the match with South Africa, Majeed sent Butt a text message stating: "in seventh and eighth over, one fall (wicket) in each, this will only work if you score in the first two overs and no wickets."
In that game against South Africa on May 10, the left-hander was out in the second over. Butt told the court that he later confronted Majeed.
"You must understand I must report these things if they come up," he recalled telling Majeed. "He said I am your friend and I have known you many years and I am just checking if you are doing something dodgy or not. I took his word for this explanation.
"He said he was trying to test me with something non-serious. In four years there was nothing like this - something very serious. Anyone in my place would have had suspicions about it. I did not expect this thing to come up. I had known him many years and he had never done this thing before.
"I didn't report it to the ICC because this is someone I had known for quite a length of time now and he meant what he said to me in his explanation. I had worked with him a couple of years."
Bajwa also addressed the court and suggested that they "concede" there seemed to be a "criminal conspiracy" between Majeed and Amir but claimed that his client was not party to it.
When Butt first took the stand, he told the court that he earned about >1.2 million ($1.89 million) since he made his Pakistan debut in 2003. AP

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