Cricket: UK prosecutors to outline Pakistan fixing case
British prosecutors were expected Wednesday to outline the case against two Pakistani cricketers accused of taking bribes to fix parts of a match against England.
Former captain Salman Butt, 26, and fast bowler Mohammad Asif, 28, both deny charges of conspiring to deliberately bowl no-balls during the fourth Test at Lord's cricket ground in London in August 2010.
The hearing at Southwark Crown Court in London was delayed on Wednesday after one juror fell sick and the judge ordered a new 12-person jury to be sworn in to hear the case.
The new jury was to be taken from a pool of 30 potential jurors who were asked on Tuesday whether they or their families worked in the gambling industry or earned money from professional cricket or have ever been employed in journalism.
The allegations against Butt and Asif were made in the Rupert Murdoch-owned News of the World tabloid, which was closed down in July this year when it became engulfed in the phone hacking scandal.
During legal arguments earlier Wednesday, Asif sat in court wearing a brown pinstripe suit and a white shirt, with a white folder on his lap. He listened to an Urdu-speaking translator sat to his left.
Butt sat to Asif's right wearing a charcoal grey jacket and blue jeans.
Both cricketers sipped from glasses of water while they were in court. A court official was also in the box with them.
The charges against the pair -- conspiracy to obtain and accept corrupt payments, and with conspiracy to cheat at gambling -- carry maximum sentences of seven years and two years in prison respectively.
A third Pakistan player, prodigal young bowler Mohammad Aamer, 19, and Butt's British agent Mazhar Majeed have also been charged with the same offences, but are not standing trial.
Judge Jeremy Cooke said on Tuesday that the trial could last up to five weeks.
At the time of the alleged offences, Butt was captain of Pakistan's Test side and had won plaudits for his leadership of the team.
Asif was the team's senior pace bowler, while teenage left-arm swing bowler Aamer was regarded as one of the hottest properties in world cricket.
The allegations stem from a probe by Mazher Mahmood, the former undercover reporter for the News of the World, who is widely known in Britain as the "fake sheikh" for wearing Arab dress during investigations.
"Spot-betting", hugely popular in South Asia, sees gamblers bet on various possible incidents in a match rather than the final outcome.
© 2011 AFP