Cricket: First cricketers ever to be convicted by Court

  • Recently, Former Pakistan captain Salman Butt and pace bowler Mohammad Asif became the first cricketers ever to be convicted for fixing a part of a match.

The 12-member jury at London’s Southwark Crown Court found the duo guilty of conspiracy to cheat and to accept corrupt payments during a Pakistan-England Test match at Lord’s last year. The jury at a London court found Pak duo guilty on 2 counts — conspiracy to cheat (unanimous) and conspiracy to accept corrupt payments (10-2 majority). They are the first to be convicted under Britain’s new Gambling Act, which came into force in 2005.

The duo was accused after a sting operation by the News of the World newspaper taped a conversation with a players’ agent, Mazhar Majeed, in which he claimed he could arrange for Pakistani players to fix matches for money. The duo were convicted and jailed for 30 months for conspiracy charges relating to the spot-fixing. What was the case?

The “News of the World” alleged that three intentional no-balls were delivered during the match between Pakistan and England from 26 to 29 August 2010. The players took bribes to bowl deliberate no-balls.The prosecutors of the case said that Butt and Asif had been motivated by greed to “contaminate” a match watched by millions of people and “betray” Pakistani team, the Pakistan Cricket Board and the cricket.

What is a no-ball?

An unlawful delivery of a ball is called No Ball. A penalty against the fielding team is awarded by the umpire and this results in one run being added to the batting team’s score, and an additional ball must be bowled. Sometimes a no ball can result from a “beamer” which refers to a dangerous delivery. It can result due to delivery without some part of the front foot either grounded or in the air behind the “popping crease”, a line marked on the pitch.

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