Mohammad Asif told a court today that spot-fixing claims were “destroying my life”.
The Pakistan bowler spoke out after being accused of bowling a deliberate no ball arranged by a corrupt agent – and also plotting to fix a separate “bracket” at the Lord’s Test last year with an unidentified British betting syndicate.
Asif responded by saying that prosecution lawyers were “just making up” allegations against him and asked why police had not identified the mystery underworld syndicate.
“You are destroying my life and you don’t even know who you are accusing of being involved,” he said.
Aftab Jafferjee, QC, the lead prosecutor, replied that Asif was responsible for his own downfall.
“Anyone who has destroyed your life, Mr Asif, you have gone along with quite willingly,” he said.
The prosecution also alleged that after being interviewed by police about the News of the World sting, Asif met a lawyer to discuss possibly claiming political asylum in Britain.
“You are again wrong,” Asif replied.
The jury have heard that Asif was allegedly part of a conspiracy with agent Mazhar Majeed, captain Salman Butt and bowler Mohammad Amir, to deliver deliberate no balls at Lord’s.
Asif was in regular phone contact with Majeed and Butt before and during the match. The bowler was asked about each call he made or received and asked to explain what was said.
He claimed they were innocent conversations about sponsorship and going out for dinner with Majeed, and that the calls with Butt were because the captain was trying to curtail his late nights out on the town.
Asked about a call from the captain just after Majeed had received £10,000 worth of “bung” money from the News of the World, Asif said: “It’s not about the money. He said we have bowling tomorrow, batting tomorrow, are you in bed?”
The player was then questioned about a crucial call to him from Majeed at 11.20pm on the eve of the Lord’s Test – 59 seconds after the agent had left a London hotel room with a second £140,000 “bung”.
“I don’t know why he is calling me but there’s no conversation between him and me about the money,” Asif replied.
Mr Jafferjee said: “You are in it. You’re in it with your captain, you’re in with Majeed, and you’re in it with Amir, aren’t you?
“No,” Asif responded.
The bowler added that Majeed was “lying” when he said the three “very clever” fixers in the Pakistan team were Butt, Kamran Akmal and Asif.
In another exchange about Majeed, the bowler turned the tables on the prosecutor, saying: “Now I’m asking your opinion. Is Majeed telling the truth?”
Asif added that the phone evidence shows Majeed had two mobiles, one which he had for everyday use, and one which was his “secret” fixing phone.
“He never calls me on that secret number,” Asif said.
The prosecution later proved that Majeed did use both phones to call Butt and others.
Asif claims that he bowled the no ball at Lord’s – exactly when Majeed had correctly predicted the night before – after being “sledged” by Butt.
He said that the captain put him under pressure, by telling him to “run faster f—er”.
Asif also claimed that it was “suspicious” Butt had moved to an “unorthodox” straight silly mid off position during his contentious no ball over, bowling to Andrew Strauss.
However the prosecution showed footage which revealed Butt had taken the same position in an earlier over against Alastair Cook, the other England opener.
Mr Jafferjee said: “You are plainly putting responsibility on Butt for the no ball.”
Asif replied “that was one of the reasons” – and said another is that a no-ball can happen “by chance”.
Asked outright if Butt was involved in fixing, Asif replied: “I don’t know – I never saw any evidence of it.”
Mr Jafferjee continued: “But Amir is plainly involved in what’s going on?”
“Yes he is,” said Asif.
Asif and Butt deny conspiracy to cheat and accept corrupt payments. Amir and Majeed are not on trial at these proceedings.
The case was adjourned until Monday, when it will continue with closing speeches from the prosecution and defence.
Follow RDJ Edwards in court on Twitter – @Cricketer_RDJ