On This Day: ICC bans Pakistan’s Salman Butt, Mohammad Amir and Mohammad Asif for spot-fixing – Firstcricket News, Firstpost

Eleven years ago, on this day, the International Cricket Council (ICC) banned three Pakistan players on charges of spot-fixing. The players – Salman Butt, Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Amir – were given a ban of ten years (five years suspended), seven years (two years suspended) and five years respectively.

The decision came after the trio were accused of spot-fixing in a Test match played between England and Pakistan at the Lord’s Cricket Ground in London in 2010. The trio were alleged to have taken bribes from a bookie to carry out specific on-field actions which included bowling no-balls at predetermined times.

File image of former Pakistan cricketer Salman Butt. Reuters

England defeated Pakistan in the four-match Test series 3-1. Mohammad Amir was declared Player of the Series for his brilliant performance and things seemed to be looking good for left-arm seamer.

Then a now defunct tabloid News of the World revealed stunning details of match-fixing during the Test match. Audio tapes that involved then Pakistan captain Salman Butt liaising with bookie, Mazhar Majeed, began doing the rounds.

A spot-fix was arranged with Majeed where Pakistan bowlers Mohammad Amir and Mohammad Asif had to bowl no-balls at pre-decided moments in the match. Reports also showed the bookie detailing the kind of ball delivery that was required to be swayed by Amir in the first over of England’s innings.

Initially, all the three players maintained their innocence of the charges levelled against them. However, the trio was handed a ban on 5 February, 2011 after a series of hearings. All three players appealed the ban.

After a year of investigations carried out by ICC’s anti-corruption unit and the Scotland Yard, the three players were proven guilty of the charges levelled against them and in November 2011, the Pakistan players were handed jail terms at Southwark Crown Court, London.

Salman Butt was sentenced to two years and six months, whereas Asif and Amir were given a term of one year and six months respectively. The agent Mazhar Majeed was also sentenced to two years and eight months of jail term.

The entire incident shook the cricket world as it highlighted a case of systematic violation of moral conduct on the field. It also became a major setback for the three cricketers and cut-short their careers. While Amir did make a comeback to international cricket in 2016, Butt and Asif could never return to play at the same level.

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