Spot-fixing case: When Butt confronted Majeed

Former Pakistan captain Salman Butt told a court on Monday how he confronted his agent Mazhar Majeed about text messages he had sent him to fix elements of a Twenty20 match against South Africa at the 2010 Twenty20 World Cup.

Updated: October 18, 2011 12:01 IST
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London: Former Pakistan captain Salman Butt told a court on Monday how he confronted his agent Mazhar Majeed about text messages he had sent him to fix elements of a Twenty20 match against South Africa at the 2010 Twenty20 World Cup.

Butt's comments came on the afternoon of the ninth day of the alleged spot-fixing trial at Southwark Crown Court. It was the first time he had taken the witness box after the prosecution closed its case.

Former opening batsman Butt was questioned about text messages he had received from Majeed, who was his agent from 2006 until 2010, relating to fixing. Butt first gave the background to the messages, which came on the back of a losing tour of Australia when they lost every single match in 2009-10.

"He would say before a game 'give me something'," Butt told the court. "I didn't like it and I felt bad about it. We are not what you are thinking of us. We don't lose intentionally. But it didn't make any difference to him."

For the match against South Africa, Majeed texted Butt asking, "in seventh and eighth over, one fall (wicket) in each, this will only work if you score in the first two overs and no wickets". Kamran Akmal opened the batting with Butt. The message was recovered from police on behalf of the prosecution.

Butt added, on when Majeed would raise such topics: "I would get rid of the conversations in my own language and say 'thik he'." At this stage Butt utilised the services of the female interpreter standing by his side for the first time. She explained that what he was saying meant 'Okay, let's move on'.

Despite Butt's intentions to deter Majeed's messages, they didn't stop. His lawyer, Ali Bajwa QC, asked him to explain messages found on Majeed's phone that were sent to him. One such message read: "Give us one in the seventh and one in the eighth." Bajwa asked Butt if he remembered receiving the messages at that time. He said "Well it is my phone so I must have read them". But when Bajwa asked him if he knew what the message meant, he responded "No".

In the event, on that May 10 game, Butt was dismissed second ball trying to pull Dale Steyn. Bajwa asked Butt if he was captain at that time so to determine to the jury whether he had any influence on events in the match and Butt said, "No".

The court had already heard from written evidence given by the Pakistan team's then security manager, Major Khwaja Najam Javed, that Majeed was in the Caribbean at the time for the tournament with his family.

Butt then explained that he confronted Majeed on the day of this match and he told him: "We are not like these messages you are sending me. You must understand that I must report these things if they come up. He said I am your friend and I have known you many years and I am just checking if you are doing something dodgy or not.

"I took his word for this explanation. He said he was trying to test me with something non-serious. I took his word for that. In four years there was nothing like this - something very serious. Anyone in my place would have had suspicions about it. I did not expect this thing to come up. I had known him many years and he had never done this thing before.

"I didn't report it to the ICC because this is someone I had known for quite a length of time now and he meant what he said to me in his explanation. I had worked with him a couple of years. This is someone I know, if it (happened) the way he explained it to me there was no way the ICC should find out. The only way of working with him was to have good relations so I took his word."

Just before proceedings broke off for the day, Bajwa quizzed Butt on the maiden over that, the prosecution alleged, Butt had agreed to but, subsequently, did not play out at The Oval in the third Test, the match before Lord's. Majeed said: "You know the maiden yeah, do one more." Butt, after said saying 'yeah' to the initial mention of a maiden, eventually snapped and said, "Bro just leave it". That was known from the prosecution's opening.

Butt, who told the court "it is not hard to play out a maiden in a Test match at The Oval" after the prosecution suggested he failed to achieve it, said of the latest corrupt question from Majeed: "I just wanted him to leave this conversation. He started the same thing over and over again. The way he was showing off, like he thought I would do him a favour. I was slightly suspicious."

The case continues.

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