Twenty20 cricket is “easy” to fix and is rife with corruption, a court heard today.
Mazhar Majeed, the agent at the centre of the spot-fixing conspiracy, said he was going to make “a hell of a lot of money” from T20 and one-day games between Pakistan and England last year, jurors were told.
In a secretly recorded conversation with an undercover journalist, he revealed the extent of the T20 spot-fixing and said he would tell the batsmen to deliberately “waste” overs by scoring slowly, and the bowlers to give runs away.
The court has previously heard that the “fixer” was plotting for Pakistan to throw a one-day game in the England series.
Majeed said that the players wanted to “f— things up” for Shahid Afridi, the then Pakistan captain, so that he could be replaced by the allegedly corrupt Salman Butt.
The agent also suggested that the club Champions League T20 competition was being rigged by syndicates in India.
On the fifth day of the corruption trial, the court has heard evidence from the 15 phone calls and five meetings held between Majeed and the undercover News of the World journalist carrying out the sting, Mazhar Mahmood. He is giving evidence from behind a screen to protect his identity.
Before the end of the Test series last year, Majeed told the reporter: “Your timing is perfect because we’re going to be making a hell of a lot of money in the T20s and the one days.
“T20s the easiest.”
The agent said that if Pakistan are batting, when the scoring rate should be six or seven an over at least, they will score at only two runs an over.
“With the batsmen, I’m going to tell you how many – like say for example the two opening batsmen, Salman and Kamran.
“They’re going to waste two overs, three overs.”
Majeed then continued: “I’ll tell you the bowlers, how many minimum runs they’re going to concede – much more than usual.”
The agent said that by performing badly in the T20s against England, it would also force out Afridi – who was not in on his racket.
“There’s a problem with Afridi. So a lot of the boys want to f— up Afridi because he’s trying to f— things up for them, and he’s the captain of the T20 and one day. They all want Butt to be the captain.”
Majeed said that they could only fix events on certain days in England, when his Indian mafia contacts agreed that the “markets are open”. This would depend upon whether any cricket was being played in India. He suggested that when the Champions League clashed with one-day internationals, for example, the corrupt spot-fixing markets would only operate for that tournament, and not the games in England.
Earlier, in another conversation, the jury heard a taped phone call when Majeed asked for £1 million for Pakistan to throw the Oval Test match against England.
The agent called his underworld “contact” in India before the fourth day’s play in the Test match last year – just as Pakistan were about to beat England.
Jurors were played his secretly recorded conversation as he asked the mystery businessman “what can you offer me for today’s game?”
Majeed then said he had spoken to the Pakistan players and claimed it would take “at least” £1 million in cash ($1.2million) to throw the game.
At the time, Pakistan needed only one more English wicket, and would chase a total of under 150 to win the game – meaning the odds were very high for a Pakistan loss.
In the recorded phone call, Majeed said: “Okay, there’s a possibility, I’m just telling you that now, but they’re talking ‘1.2’ at least.
The Indian voice says: “In dollars yeah?”
Majeed replied: “Boss you know how many [players] we’ve got, you know that they do it, so of course it’s not a problem. But you just give me the figure.”
Majeed then claimed to an undercover reporter from the News of the World that he would get the money in cash, delivered to him “some in Dubai, some in England”.
“There’s big big money in results boss, I tell you, you can see that,” he told the journalist.
Majeed also regularly told his corrupt players to throw away their sim cards and handsets, jurors were told, and claimed to have set up Swiss banks accounts to hide their corrupt payments.
Majeed is not on trial at these proceedings. Butt and Mohammad Asif both deny a conspiracy to cheat and accepting corrupt payments.
The case continues.
Follow RDJ Edwards in court on Twitter – @Cricketer_RDJ