Pakistan were planning to throw a one-day match against England as part of a match fixing racket, a court heard today.
Mazhar Majeed, the agent at the centre of the conspiracy, told an undercover journalist that as well as spot-fixing, the players had agreed Pakistan would deliberately lose a match.
It was due to happen in the one-day series last year, after the allegedly corrupt Test match that was exposed by the News of the World, the court heard.
In a secretly taped recording, played to the jury on the fourth day of the trial, Majeed told an undercover reporter from the tabloid: “We’ve got one result already planned and that is coming within the next three and a half weeks.
“Pakistan will lose. It’s your responsibility to put it on [the bet] at the right times because there’s going to be times in that game when Pakistan are favourites, times when England are favourites.
“I will give you the six names of the players on our side, and you will know exactly what each player’s going to do.”
|See secret footage of Majeed released by the court here, where he
claims to have fixed cricket for two-and-half years:
As part of his assurances to the journalist, Majeed gave him the personal mobile phone numbers of Salman Butt, the captain, and Kamran Akmal, the wicketkeeper.
Jurors also heard for the first time of a meeting between Butt and the undercover reporter, Mazher Mahmood, who gave evidence from behind a screen to protect his identity.
The secretly taped exchange over dinner at a restaurant lasted for 16 minutes. It was the first time they had met and they talked innocently about cricket, politics, Pakistani women, and even anecdotes of Butt meeting the former US President George W Bush.
Butt said he explained the difference between baseball and cricket to the President and added: “He was quite friendly that day … [laughs] that day … otherwise, he’s not been good to the world.”
At the end of the conversation, Butt, 27, said: “I don’t want to play for that long – next six or seven years is enough.”
Majeed hatched a plan to prove to the undercover reporter that his players were in on the corruption by getting Butt to play out a maiden over at The Oval, the court has heard.
Asked how it proved he was in on the fix, Majeed said: “It shows that he’s read the instructions.”
The maiden over did not transpire. Butt and Mohammad Asif are instead on trial accused of orchestrating the deliberate bowling of no balls at the Lord’s Test against England last year, together with Majeed and Mohammad Amir.
Butt and Asif denied in a police interview that the no balls were part of a spot-fixing conspiracy and claimed that Majeed could only have named exactly when they would happen in advance to a journalist “by chance”.
In the afternoon, Benedict Bermange, the senior statistician for Sky Sports, gave evidence to say that the odds of anyone predicting exactly when three no balls would be bowled by Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Amir were 1.5 million-to-one.
Asif was said to have bowled 58 no balls in Tests since 2000, although 24 of those were in one match. The court heard that he bowled fewer no balls than other pacemen, on average.
Mr Bermange added that the no-balls bowled by Mohammad Amir were “without doubt the largest I’ve ever seen in terms of the front foot over the crease”.
The case continues.