London: Pakistan players took bribes to bowl deliberate no-balls during a match against England in a case that exposes rampant corruption at the heart of international cricket, a court heard Wednesday.
Salman Butt, 26, and Mohammed Asif, 28, denied charges of conspiracy to obtain and accept corrupt payments, and conspiracy to cheat at gambling, during the fourth Test at Lords in August 2010.
A third Pakistan player, prodigal young bowler Mohammad Aamer, and Butts British agent Mazhar Majeed have also been charged with the same offences but they are not standing trial alongside Butt and Asif in London.
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. International cricket is mired in corruption, prosecutor Aftab Jafferjee said in his opening statement to Southwark Crown Court.
It is the prosecutions case that all four men were involved — and by the time the last Test match at Lords took place each of them was well at it — the two bowlers being orchestrated by their captain, and the captains agent Majeed, to bowl three no-balls at a pre-arranged point in the game, he said. Jafferjee added: Their activity represents a betrayal by them of their own team, their own board of cricket, and most damaging of all a betrayal of the sport of cricket itself. (agencies)