I had warned Butt and Asif: Ex-Pak team manager Saeed
Yawar Saeed the Pakistan team manager during the fateful tour of England when the spot-fixing scam broke was deeply saddened yesterday after guilty verdicts were handed down to two former star players in a London court over the scam.
Two bad: Former Pakistan players Salman Butt at the Southwark Crown
Court in London yesterday.
"It's a sad day for all of us and I'm very sad that this beautiful game of cricket has had to see this day," said Saeed after former Test captain Butt (27) and fast bowler Asif (28) now face jail after a London court convicted them of deliberately bowling three no-balls during the Lord's Test in August 2010 as part of a 'spot-fixing' betting scam.
Mohd Asif at the Southwark Crown Court in London yesterday.
"I feel very sad because I tried my level best to tell them to keep away from notorious people. They should have understood that and they committed a blunder, and when you commit a blunder, you are punished," Saeed told AFP.
Bad news: Pakistan's team manager Yawar Saeed reads a copy of
Britain's News of the World newspaper on the fourth day of the fourth
Test between England and Pakistan, at Lord's on August 29, last year
after the visiting team was embroiled in spot fixing. Pics/AFP
"I'm also sad because the country's name has been dragged into this entire controversy. Pakistan is known for its talented players but this case has stained the country's image badly," he added. Prosecutors alleged Butt and Asif conspired with British agent Mazhar Majeed and Pakistan fast bowler Mohammad Aamer to bowl the no-balls as part of a plot that revealed "rampant corruption" at the heart of international cricket.
Asif was also found guilty on a second fixing charge, which carries a maximum sentence of two years in jail, of conspiring to accept corrupt payments in the betting scam. Saeed stepped down as manager after the troubled England tour.
"It's very upsetting," said Iqbal Qasim, head of sports at the state-run National Bank of Pakistan for which Butt, Asif and Mohammad Aamer played in the domestic season until they were sacked in the aftermath of the scandal.
"It's a part of history now and Pakistan's name will come whenever such a scandal is discussed," said Qasim also a former Test cricketer for Pakistan. "We (National Bank of Pakistan) had an association with them, but we terminated their contracts, they will get the punishment for their wrongdoing."
Butt and Asif were charged after allegations about their involvement in spot-fixing appeared in the now-defunct News of the World tabloid, owned by Australian-born media tycoon Rupert Murdoch, shortly after the Lord's Test.
Meanwhile, in Lahore, the wife of Butt's wife gave birth to a baby boy just minutes before her husband was found guilty of the spot-fixing scam. Butt's father Zulfiqar told AFP that the baby was born 30 minutes before the verdict -- news that was splashed immediately all over Pakistani television stations.