LONDON: Disgraced Pakistan cricketer Mohammad Amir said Monday that former captain Salman Butt had betrayed their friendship by involving him in the spot-fixing scandal that has seen him banned from cricket and serve time in a British prison.
The highly-rated 19-year-old was released from jail last month after serving half of a six-month sentence for his part in the scandal during the Lord’s Test between England and Pakistan in 2010.
His former teammates Butt and Mohammad Asif are serving sentences of 30 and 12 months respectively, handed down by a British court in November, after the trio were found guilty of corruption and receiving illegal money.
The International Cricket Council (ICC) also banned all three players, with Amir receiving the minimum five-year punishment after he was found guilty of deliberately bowling no-balls as part of a plan orchestrated by Butt.
“I’m so angry with Salman,” said Amir in an interview with former England captain Mike Atherton broadcast on Sky Sports on Monday.
“He used to call me ‘innocent one’. Like how an elder brother would speak to a younger one,” he added in comments translated by Sky into English from Urdu. “He should have helped me instead of involving me in all this.”
However, Amir conceded that what he had done was dishonest. “I knew it was unfair to cricket, because it is cheating. No matter how small the dishonest deed is, at the end of the day cheating is cheating.”
“Whether it’s a no-ball, or match fixing. No matter what it is, and whether it’s the tiniest of the tiny, it’s still cheating.”
Amir continued that even though he was feeling crushed inside, he continued because he had been in a state of panick “I was worried that if I didn’t do it, then it might create a problem for me.”
He clarified “What I am really trying to say is that I was very confused; I couldn’t think straight. I panicked.”
I should have told someone about fixing advances
Amir said that he felt stupid for not having told someone on fixing advances. “had I taken it seriously then perhaps I would have gone and told the management ‘that these guys want to do this with me. What are they doing to me?”
“And I was lost in that world, nor had I ever considered this thing to be serious. Nor was it anywhere in my mind that I would do something like this, or that it was a good thing for me. I had never thought about this kind of thing,” lamented Amir.
“I didn’t take any of it seriously; I thought it was a load of nonsense This led to my downfall,” the young pacer recounted.
Amir then recounted the events that led up to him being asked to bowl the specific no-balls.
Following is a transcript from Amir’s interview by Sky Sports as appearing on The Telegraph:
“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.
I said ‘what?’ 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”. I said, “And then?” That’s when he said “can you do me a favour?”
I asked him what favour? He replied ‘do 2 no balls for me.’
I said ‘what?!’ And here there’s something crucial that I’d like to say at this point: I’d like to say how stupid I was.
I mean on the one hand he was telling me that a report about me had gone to the ICC, and on the other that he wanted me to do 2 no balls for him.
My next question should have been to him “bro, on the one hand you’ve just told me that a report about me is on its way to the ICC, and then at the same time you’re asking me for 2 no balls?’
I panicked so much that I didn’t even think to ask him that… 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.
I said in any case, I don’t do this kind of thing, nor do I know how to go about it.
I don’t know how to bowl no balls. My front foot is always behind the line. I very rarely delivered no balls throughout my entire career.
He said ‘no, no, just go to the ground and practise.’
He told me that Salman would help me and that he was with me. It was precisely at this very moment that Salman turned up and sat behind us.
And he didn’t say anything. All he did was to rest his elbows like that on both the seats and listened.
He didn’t utter a word. The only thing that he said was to bowl 2 no-balls. I can’t remember now whether it was then or later when he told me which ones they were to be.
I left the car. Then Salman remained sitting where he was. To begin with I thought,’ oh dear’. I panicked and went and sat in the bus worrying.”
The full transcript of Amir’s interview can be viewed here.