Butt & Co were habitual fixers!

Even as three Pakistan cricketers and their agent were given jail sentences yesterday, the focus shifted away from a few pre-arranged no-balls during last year's Lord's Test. Former Pakistan captain Salman Butt received 30 months in jail, fast bowler Mohammad Asif was sentenced to one year, 19-year-old speedster Mohammad Amir got six months and agent Mazhar Majeed was sentenced to two years and eight months.

Tainted trio: Salman Butt (left), Mohd Asif and Mohd Amir (right)

Despite the fact that they were convicted for the no-balls bowled at Lord's on August 26 and 27 last year, Justice Cook, in his sentencing remarks to Butt, said: "I cannot ignore the fact that these were not isolated incidents," -- implying that the former Pakistan captain was involved in numerous other fixing activities.

He continued: "The evidence of the text message between you and Majeed in the West Indies in May 2010 (World Twenty20) shows your involvement in such activities outside the scope of the period covered by the indictment. I sentence you in respect of the no-balls bowled at Lord's alone but bear in mind your prior agreement in respect of the maiden over at the Oval, of which telephone evidence was heard, as well as the West Indies exchanges."

In another development that rocked Australian cricket yesterday, there emerged new evidence that their two-Test series against Pakistan in England last year was rigged too. The Sydney Morning Herald reported: "Messages sent and received by (Mazhar) Majeed and uncovered by police -- but not allowed as evidence in the trial of Butt and Asif -- indicate there were also attempts to fix a bracket of Australia's first Test against Pakistan at Lord's in July last year.

Among the most startling evidence was a message received by Majeed on July 12, the day before the Lord's Test against Australia, from a British phone, thought to be of a bookmaker. There was further correspondence in the lead-up to the second Test at Leeds between Majeed and a suspected Indian bookmaker codenamed 'Raj'."

Amir previously claimed he rigged the 2010 Sydney Test between Australia and Pakistan, boasting in undercover footage filmed during a sting by the now defunct News of the World that "we made 1.3 million pounds".

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