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Revealed: How the 'spot-fixing' scandal unfolded

Source: PTI
September 05, 2010 18:26 IST
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The skeletons continue to tumble out in the spot-fixing saga with British tabloid News of the World revealing details of the conversations between alleged fixer Mazhar Majeed and their undercover reporter during the sting operations.

A report published in the paper said the reporter Mazher Mahmood got the tip-off in January this year when a former member of the Pakistan cricket management team told him that the England versus Pakistan series would be rigged.

He also got Mazhar Majeed's name in January and was told that he was the fixer for the Test series in England.

However, the first meeting between the reporter and Majeed took place at the Park Lane Hilton in London on August 16, the report said.

"In the plush hotel's Podium restaurant, our team explain they are representing a business group interested in launching a new cricket tournament - and we need Majeed's help to bring in the stars.

"The smooth fixer instantly pounces, boasting about his links to the Pakistan team. He asks if we will put up a 'million dollars' in prize money for the tournament and adds: All the players would be up for that. Then not only will they come to play, they actually come to win," the report said.

The reporter then asked him to have "a word" with the Pakistani players, mentioning the possibility of betting, to which Majeed replied: "They're cool, they're cool".

Asked if two or three players can be for the betting side, Majeed said, "There's more than two or three. Believe me. It's already set up. That's already there."

After the hour-long meeting, Majeed arranged for a second meeting at a restaurant at Bombay Brasserie on August 18, the report claimed.

During the meeting, Majeed opened up more about his deep involvement in match-fixing and called Pakistan captain Salman Butt on his mobile to check possible dates for the proposed tournament.

Later, Majeed had a "secret chat" with the reporter in the latter's car, where he spilled the bean on match-fixing.

The report gave a detailed list of conversation that took place between their undercover reporter and Majeed.

During the conversation, Majeed said, "There is very big money" in match-fixing and that he "has been doing it with the Pakistani team for about two and a half years."

Majeed said they have "made masses and masses amounts of money and that he "deals with an Indian party and they pay him for the information."

Majeed also went on to give him examples to explain the reporter about the modus operandi of the whole business of fixing.

"Say, for example, a bracket would open in India, and it would open for, erm, 30 runs after ten overs, or 33 runs after ten overs. So what the players (crooked batsmen) would do is, for the first three overs, they would score a maximum of 13 or more runs in the first three overs," the report quoted Majeed as saying.

"So the market then expects it to go high because they are scoring at a higher rate. Then the next seven overs they would score 14 (in total, a much lower run rate) or less. So then the people who know the information (betting syndicates) would go low and make a hell of a lot of a killing.

"Then there's a bowling bracket. For example, Mohammed Asif and Mohammed Amir are bowling, yeah? Ten overs. The market opens at ten overs and, let's say 32 runs. OK. So at the sixth over when he (the bowler) does that dead ball (where a bowler starts his run-up and then aborts it) my people know the 8th, 9th and 10th over, they (the bowlers) are going to concede more than 18 runs...

"Everyone's thinking 'No, they're not' because they're conceding only two or three runs an over - so the last three overs they let it all go and they make a killing," he said.

Majeed said the players give certain "indication to show that if it's on or not. They'll change gloves at a certain point."

He said they "don't do results that often and the last one we did was against Sri Lanka in the Asia Cup which was about two months ago".

Majeed specially said that he has "got six" Pakistani players in the "first team".

Majeed also said they "charge anything between 50 and 80,000 pounds per bracket and for results, Twenty20 is about 400,000 pounds", while for "a Test Match, depending on the situation, can go up to a million pounds."

Majeed then talked about a Test match that he already fixed.

"Let me tell you the last Test we did. It was the second Test against Australia in Sydney. Pakistan, on the last day... Australia had two more wickets left. They had a lead of ten runs, yeah, and Pakistan had all their wickets remaining.

"The odds for Pakistan to lose that match were I think 40-1. We let them get up to 150 in the morning, and then everyone lost their wickets. That one we made 1.3 million (dollars)," Majeed said in the report.

Majeed said "Tests is where the biggest money" and also informed they "are not going to do any results for the next two games (against England) because they want Salman Butt to be captain for long term."

He said "no-balls is easy (to fix), which "could probably get up to 10,000 pounds each. But in terms of results, one-day matches results are about 450,000 pounds."

Majeed then said on Friday he would give the information on two no-balls to be bowled at the Oval for the sum of 10,000 pounds, the report added.

Majeed further said that the players "were the ones who actually approached him" for fixing.

Majeed then invited the reporter to meet his Pakistani stars at an Arab restaurant in London.

"We arrived at 9.15 pm and were introduced to players including Salman Butt and Wahab Riaz. I arranged for our silver Mercedes to pull up outside. Majeed had demanded 10,000 pounds to show we were serious about buying match-fixing information and it needed to be handed over somewhere discreet," the reporter wrote in the tabloid.

Before "we left the restaurant, Majeed realised he wouldn't be able to stuff all the money into his trouser pockets, so he borrowed a jacket from young bowler Wahab Riaz.

"After I handed him the money he gave me precise details of no-balls that would be bowled at the Oval Test. These didn't take place but Majeed was not going to let his new client go.

"He said he would get captain Salman Butt to bat a maiden over, and invited me to his luxurious Croydon home to seal the deal. Butt would tap the middle of the pitch as a signal.

"After leaving the house, my team watched the match but saw no signal from Butt. I called Majeed and asked why, once again, nothing had happened.

"He said Butt thought the bowling would make it difficult - but it became clear the real reason was that the players doubted we would come up with enough money.

"In further calls over the weekend it was clear that far more cash was expected if we were to buy an entry ticket into the already crooked betting ring. Eventually, the amount was clear. 150,000 pounds in total would have to be paid."

Subsequently at a dinner at the Al Shishawi Restaurant, in the Edgware Road, "Our main man is introduced to Pakistan captain Salman Butt, young bowler Wahab Riaz and opening batsman Imran Farhat.

"After our man shakes hands with Butt, he and Majeed leave the restaurant briefly for another secret meeting in a parked car.

"Here, Majeed - who has borrowed a cream coloured jacket from Wahab  Riaz - outlines exactly how the no-balls he has planned for Friday's play in the Oval Test will unfold. And money will change hands for the first time.

In the next section of the tapes, Majeed then goes on to tell why he needs 150,000 pounds from us for our "trust" and exactly what will happen to it. He also implicates captain Salman Butt as a cheat for the first time.

The tabloid also published detailed conversation between Majeed and the reporter ultimately leading to the spot-fixing of no-balls at the next Test at Lord's.


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