Cricket: Butt says he ignored fixing requests

17th October 2011, Comments 0 comments

Former Pakistan Test captain Salman Butt told a court in London on Monday that he had ignored requests by his agent to fix cricket matches against England.

At his trial with fast bowler Mohammad Asif, Butt, 27, said he did not fulfil his duty to inform the cricketing authorities of an alleged corrupt approach by his British-based agent Mazhar Majeed.

But he insisted that he had rejected the agent's suggestions to deliberately lose wickets at last year's Twenty20 World Cup and score no runs in an over in a Test against England last summer.

"Never in my whole life have I intended to do anything like that, play a match in a certain way. I always do what is required to the best of my ability," he told Southwark Crown Court.

Butt said that the agent rang him late at night on the eve of the final day of the Oval Test in August 2010, in a conversation that was recorded by an undercover journalist for the now-defunct News of the World newspaper.

The cricketer said Majeed had asked him, referring to a maiden over in which no runs are scored: "You know the maiden that we're doing for the first over? You know the third over you face, do one more maiden".

Butt said he replied to Majeed: "Bro, just leave it, OK."

He told the court: "I intended to say, 'that's enough, I've heard enough of that conversation'."

When the agent again allegedly called Butt the following morning making a similar request the cricketer replied using the Urdu and Punjabi term "theek hai", meaning "OK".

Butt told the jury this meant he was trying to end the conversation quickly.

"I was trying to get rid of the conversation, not to offend anyone... I was absolutely not interested in what he was talking about," he said.

Butt and Asif have both pleaded not guilty to charges of conspiracy to obtain and accept corrupt payments, and conspiracy to cheat at gambling.

Majeed and young Pakistan bowler Mohammad Aamer have also been charged with the same offences as Butt and Asif but are not standing trial alongside them.

© 2011 AFP

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