Mohammad Amir pleaded guilty to spot-fixing after admitting that he was put under “extreme pressure” to bowl two no balls at Lord’s, it can be revealed.
The “vulnerable” teenager said he was threatened with “serious implications” for his career if he did not take part in the conspiracy.
He did not explicitly name who corrupted him, but in a thinly veiled attack he blamed “those upon whom he should have been able to rely”.
Amir pleaded guilty two weeks before the trial started. The British media were not allowed to report the pleas after an order was made by the judge on the request of the prosecution. The jury at the trial was also not told of the guilty admission.
However the order was lifted today after guilty verdicts were reached on Butt and Asif.
In a further twist, Amir, who has not been present at the trial, has been called to appear at a special hearing on Thursday (November 3) before the judge, with no jury. It will determine whether his fixing was confined to the Lord’s Test –the basis upon which his plea was accepted by the Crown – or whether the corruption ran deeper than a one-off match.
The full details of the plea can only now be reported.
Amir appeared in dock at a hearing on September 16 at Southwark Crown Court at a pre-trial hearing.
With Butt and Asif watching on from a videolink to Pakistan, Ben Emmerson, QC, representing Amir, said: “Amir wants to make it clear he wants to take full responsibility for what he did by deliberately bowling two no balls.
“This vulnerable 18-year-old boy, as he was then, was subjected to extreme pressure from those upon whom he should have been able to rely.
“He recognises the damage he has caused Pakistan cricket and he wishes to do his best to put that right.”
Amir’s plea was made on the basis of three points.
Firstly, that his involvement was limited to the bowling of no balls at Lord’s. Secondly, that it was the defendant’s “first and only involvement”, making it an “isolated and one-off event”.
Finally, that Amir “only became involved as a result of pressure (not amounting to physical threats) and influence, to the effect that, if he did not become involved, he would suffer serious professional implications for this future career.”
However the judge, Mr Justice Cooke, has said he is concerned by the basis of plea offered, and has called Amir to give evidence at a special hearing on Thursday and Friday, before he passes sentence.
During the trial, the court heard that Amir was the only player apparently in direct contact with an underworld bookie in Pakistan, who asked him to concede a set number of runs in his opening spell at the Oval Test match against England.
Three texts from Amir to an unidentified Pakistan mobile number on the eve of the Test match were revealed in court.
The first read: “How much and what needs to be done?”
After receiving an unknown reply, Amir then texted: “This is going to be too much.”
Later he appeared to confirm instructions to him: “So in the first 3, bowl however you want, and the last 2, do 8 runs?”
In the event, Amir only bowled four overs in his opening spell at the Oval. However in his last two, as the text said, he conceded eight runs – with a boundary conceded off his last ball.
It also emerged that after Amir was interviewed by police and had his phone seized, he used the mobile of agent Azhar Majeed to text another bookie in Pakistan.
The message said: “’Amir here. Don’t call my phone. ICC police have taken my phone. Are you able to delete those calls you made to me? If you can, do it OK. Don’t reply.”
Follow RDJ Edwards in court on Twitter – @Cricketer_RDJ