Banned bowler Amir says captain Butt manipulated him into delivering no-balls
By Rizwan Khatik - Tue Mar 20, 12:59 pm
Breaking his silence for the first time since being released from a Pakistan jail, young Pakistani fast bowler Mohammad Aamer said that former captain Salman Butt and bookie Mazher Majeed tricked him into spot-fixing.
In an interview to former England captain Mike Atherton on Sky Sports, Aamer, who was released from a young offenders’ institute after serving half his six-month jail term, said he was betrayed by Butt, whom he always looked up to as an “elder brother”.
Now in Pakistan, rebuilding his life, Aamer said that both Majeed and Butt forced him into spot-fixing by falsely claiming that he was already being investigated by the International Cricket Council (ICC) for fixing.
“I was in the hotel, I think, and I received a call from Mazhar saying that I should go to the car park because he wanted to talk to me about something very important. So I went out and Mazhar had a grey coloured car in the parking area. I went and sat next to him in the front seat.
“All of a sudden it was as if someone had launched an attack. Suddenly he said: ‘Oh bro, you’ve got yourself in big trouble, you’re trapped, and your career is at stake.’ I said: “Bro, what’s happened? He told me that my calls and texts with Ali had been recorded and had reached the ICC. He said that he had received a phone call from a friend of his saying that my name was involved. I said: “But I have not done anything for him.’ He said: “Nevertheless you’re trapped; your name’s being mentioned, and the case is now open.’
“I said: “What now?” And he said: “He’s my friend and you’re lucky that he’s the one who is in charge of this case.’ He said that he told him: “Bro, put an end to this case, shut this file. Whatever you need me to do, I’ll do it. Whatever needs to be done, I’ll do it. I’ll do anything.
“But Amir’s name should not be mentioned.’ That’s when he said: “Can you do me a favour?” I asked him what favour. He replied: ‘Do two no-balls for me,’” said Aamer.
Amir said he was a “stupid” and should have walked away.
“I panicked so much that I didn’t even think to ask him, ‘what are you doing?’. On one hand he had spoken about the whole ICC intelligence investigation, and on the other hand he was asking me to deliver no-balls. I was panicking so much it didn’t even occur to me how ridiculous it was.
“He told me that Salman would help me and that he was with me. It was at this very moment that Salman turned up and sat behind us,” he said.
Amir said he couldn’t forgive himself after he bowled the no-balls at Lord’s.
“I was cursing myself. I wondered what was happening. I knew that it was cheating cricket; that it was out of order, and that it shouldn’t happen. It was a really horrible feeling. Then I thought on the other hand that they are being kind to me and helping me. I thought that they are saving me and if I don’t do it, it might become a problem for me. That’s what I was thinking at the time. Then I did it,” he said.
“Why did those people do what they did to me? They told me that I was in trouble for texting Ali and what was in those texts. There had been no need for these guys to make this story up. If they thought I was prepared to do such a thing they’d simply have come up and asked me. That’s why I’m so angry with Salman. He took advantage of my friendship,” said Aamer.
Amir said he could never forget when he led from the dock at Southwark in handcuffs.
“I was telling myself that I would never play cricket again. I was crying, and saying to myself that I wouldn’t play or touch a ball again, nor would I even think about cricket,” he said.