Spot-fixing controversy January 10, 2011

Differences between Butt and Asif grow


Growing differences between Salman Butt and Mohammad Asif in the spot-fixing hearings in Doha, Qatar appear to have given rise to the acknowledgment that wrongdoing was committed during the Lord's Test last summer, but that complicity in the act and blame for it have not yet been settled.

The pair, along with Mohammad Amir, have pleaded not guilty to charges of bowling deliberate no-balls in the fourth Test against England, allegedly at the behest of player-agent Mazhar Majeed. But on day five of the hearing, during which Asif presented his defence and was then cross-examined by ICC lawyers, the explanations of why a no-ball was bowled suggest that it was the result of a direct or indirect instruction from Butt.

It has slowly become clear over the course of the hearing that the equation between how Butt and Asif defended themselves in particular was going to be pivotal in the case. In his opening statement, Asif is believed to have said that the no-ball came about because of the extra effort required to bowl a faster ball as instructed by Butt, who was captain at the time.

As a result, Butt was questioned by Asif's lawyer, Alexander Cameron, during his defence earlier in the hearing; in turn, on Monday, Butt's lawyer Yasin Patel questioned Asif. Amir on the other hand was not questioned by either of the other players' lawyers.

There is a suggestion that Butt wasn't in the courtroom, on the 12th floor of the Qatar Financial Centre, during Asif's questioning. As has been the case through the week, the players arrived separately; Asif was the first to do so and the last to leave.

Given that the possibility of deliberate wrongdoing is strengthened through the interplay between Butt and Asif, the situation does not appear too bright for the players. The probability that the ICC, which is keen to establish its credentials as a body with zero tolerance for corruption, will push for harsh sanctions must be high. As Pakistan's captain at the time, Butt faces the possibility of the sternest sanctions.

He was under cross-examination for the longest period of the three players and one witness' statements in particular are thought to have hurt his case. Equally, stern action against Asif and Amir cannot be discounted if guilt is established, even though the latter's youth and unblemished disciplinary record might provide mitigating circumstances.

After Asif's cross-examination, the ICC began its closing statements. On Wednesday the players will deliver their closing statements. Thereafter the tribunal of Michael Beloff QC, Albie Sachs and Sharad Rao is expected to deliberate over the judgment. There is no indication yet whether a judgment and verdict will be made public on Tuesday or whether they decide to reserve the judgment till later.

Osman Samiuddin is Pakistan editor of Cricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Yoniv on January 12, 2011, 17:56 GMT

    All pakistan cric fans and patriots, being patriotic doesn't mean you can speak rubbish. How is ICC going to benefit if they delay the tribunal. Pakistan cannot play these three talented players, they are not gonna win with the WC anyway. If pakistan doesn't win this WC, how does ICC benefit from it. ICC will not deliberately delay the tribunal so that these players cannot play the WC. That is rubbish!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Stud on January 12, 2011, 12:16 GMT

    Please spare a thought for Danish Kaneria. We have a pak player suspended by PCB for not doing anything wrong.

  • Dummy4 on January 12, 2011, 11:41 GMT

    @Pratik_Vodka? Really? Were the records of gibbs/cronje/azhar/jadeja/samuels banned? Your comments are more ridiculous

  • Pratik on January 12, 2011, 10:34 GMT

    Some comments just are so pathetic that its unbelievable, if found guilty not only they should be banned but a bigger punishment is to remove them completely from cricketing books. None of their achievements should be reflected in any score card / record book. Even if Aamir and Asif or even Butt some how manage to come back in the game they should start with 0 matches 0 runs 0 wickets in their performance card. They should be making debuts. Cause nothing hurts cricketer more than knowing none of your performances can ever be remembered.

  • Rupesh on January 11, 2011, 17:20 GMT

    Prediction: Butt will be banned for lifetime or effective cricketing lifetime. Asif and Amir will be suspended for 1-2 years. Part of the suspension is already served, to they could be back in business soon. I could be wrong, of course, but Butt is dispensable and by banning him, ICC can look "tough" and can talk about "zero tolerance." Although Asif and Amir are also guilty, Pak badly needs them to play and ICC would want to keep star young cricketers. They will forget about zero tolerance, and say that Asif and Amir are less guilty because they operated on captain's instructions, so they just get a slap on the wrist.

  • Stark on January 11, 2011, 17:08 GMT

    I knew it.........

    It's official that the date for the out come of the tribunal will be postponed til 5th FEB!

    They definitely didn't want those three playing in Pak team cuz we could have had a chance of winning the WC. They already missed out on the initial 30 man squad but now they have postponed it so, they never get a look in the 15 man squad!

    Also, is notw psychic that they knew majeed would be right so, they filmed him?

    If I claimed something like that would they film me with their spy cam?

  • Hammad on January 11, 2011, 16:56 GMT

    These three will resume their careers after world cup... This spot fixing issue is nothing but a bogus case against Pak Top Players.. Why is it happenening to Pak right before the mega event? Same thing happened to Asif and shoaib b4 Champions trophy when both were unplayable.... This case can be solve within a month, but delaying it simply showing that ICC doesnt want them to participate in the World Cup.......

  • Dummy4 on January 11, 2011, 16:54 GMT

    Asif and Aamer really need to play for Pakistan, we are hopeless without. I don't care about anything else, but Amir atleast must play. There is too much talent to waste in these two.

  • Stuart on January 11, 2011, 15:01 GMT

    The case is certainly not nonsense, although the dual nature of the ICC in it means that there has to be an opportunity for any of the three who are punished to appeal to the International Court of Arbitration for Sports. That is absolutely proper and is the same in almost every sport. In football, if an incident happens that's worthy of punishment, the Premier League is first up to allocate blame and award penalties. If that is unsatisfactory, UEFA and/or FIFA can get involved, with the International Court of Arbitration for Sports being the ultimate arbiter as necessary.

  • ilaam on January 11, 2011, 14:41 GMT

    i really want 2 see amir and asif pair back in pakistan test team.cos tere is no match 2 tis pair in current test cricket

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