Salman Butt agreed to 'bat maiden over', says prosecutor

A tape recording between Salman Butt and his agent Mazher Majeed was used to prove the allegations of agreeing to play maiden in the London court on Thursday AFP

London: Oct 6, 2011

Former Pakistan skipper Salman Butt agreed to score no runs in an over during last year’s Oval Test match against England as part of a betting scam.

Butt and fast bowler Mohammed Asif are accused of receiving money to deliberately bowl no-balls at a specified time during the Test match in August last year.

During the hearing of the case Thursday, prosecutors claimed a tape recording which showed that 26-year-old Butt agreed to play a maiden on the final day of the Test, which was a chance for his side to win their first game of the series, Daily Mail reported.

His London-based sports agent, Mazhar Majeed, 36, agreed a deal with an undercover journalist posing as a rich Indian businessman who had paid 10,000 pounds to fix part of the match over phone, Southwark Crown Court heard.

Majeed assured the reporter, Mazher Mahmood, of the now defunct News of the World, that Butt would score no runs in his first full over at The Oval the next day, Aug 21.

The agent rang the cricketer on speaker phone to prove he was involved in the fixing scam, the court heard.

Their alleged conversation, which was recorded by the reporter, was read to the jury.

Majeed allegedly said: ‘You know the maiden we were doing in the first over?’

Butt allegedly replied: ‘Yeah.’

Majeed: ‘You know the third over you face? Do one more maiden.’

Butt: ‘No, leave it, OK.’

Majeed: ‘You don’t want to do the third over?’

Butt: ‘Nai, yaar.’ (‘No, mate.’)

Prosecutor Aftab Jafferjee QC said: “If not party to this corrupt agreement, you might expect Butt to say something to the effect of ‘What are you talking about?'”

Majeed allegedly told the journalist he had seven Pakistan cricketers working for him and pointed out the advantages of ‘grooming’ younger players as the two men discussed match-fixing, the court heard.

The sports agent allegedly said: “These boys are going to be around for years, and I’ve got the best boys.”

Majeed named ‘his’ players as Butt, fast bowlers Mohammed Asif, Mohammed Aamer and Wahab Riaz, wicketkeeper Kamran Akmal, and batsmen Umar Akmal and Imran Farhat.

However, Jafferjee said the agent explained that there was a ‘little question mark’ about Farhat.

Butt and fast bowler Mohammed Asif deny conspiracy to cheat and conspiracy to accept corrupt payments between Aug 15 and 29 last year.(IANS)