Pakistan captain ‘agreed to score no runs’ – court

LONDON, (Reuters) – Former Pakistan cricket captain  Salman Butt agreed to score no runs in an over during a crucial  game against England as part of a betting scam, a court heard yesterday.

Butt, 26, was allegedly taped confirming that he  would deliberately bat out a maiden over on the final day of  last year’s Oval test match, which was a chance for his side to  win their first game of the series.

Salman Butt

His London-based sports agent, Mazhar Majeed, 36, discussed  the arrangement with the cricketer by phone while agreeing a  deal with an undercover journalist posing as a rich Indian  businessman who had paid 10,000 pounds ($15,400) to fix part of  the match, Southwark Crown Court heard.

The Press Association reported that Majeed assured the  journalist, Mazher Mahmood, of the News of the World, that Butt  would score no runs in his first full over at the Oval the next  day, Aug. 21 last year.

When the journalist pointed out that a maiden over could  happen ordinarily, the agent rang the cricketer on speaker phone  to prove he was involved in the fixing scam, the court heard.

Their alleged conversation, which was recorded by the  reporter, was read to the jury. Majeed allegedly said: “You know the maiden we were doing in  the first over?”    Butt allegedly replied: “Yeah.”

Majeed: “You know the third over you face? Do one more  maiden.”
Butt: “No, leave it, OK.”

Majeed: “You don’t want to do the third over?” Butt: “Nai, yaar.” (“No, mate.”) Prosecutor Aftab Jafferjee said: “If not party to this  corrupt agreement, you might expect Butt to say something to the  effect of ‘What are you talking about?’“

Butt and fast bowler Mohammad Asif deny conspiracy to cheat  and conspiracy to accept corrupt payments between Aug. 15 and 29  last year.

On the opening day of the trial on Wednesday, Jafferjee told  the jury: “This case reveals a depressing tale of rampant  corruption at the heart of international cricket, with the key  players being members of the Pakistan cricket team.”

The activity, he said, was underpinned by the betting  industry in the Asian sub-continent, where gambling on cricket  matches alone had a turnover of $40-50 billion a year.
The trial is expected to last a month.

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