In a stunning revelation, former Pakistan all-rounder Abdul Razzaq has said that Mohammad Amir, the fast bowler who was banned from international cricket in 2010 for spot fixing, accepted his wrongdoing only after he was given a slap by former captain Shahid Afridi. It was during Pakistan's tour of England in 2010 that Mohammad Amir, Mohammad Asif and the then captain, Salman Butt were found to be involved in spot-fixing as part of a sting operation by the English tabloid News of the World.
Speaking to a Pakistani news channel GNN, Razzaq narrated the dramatic scene of the entire event. "When this thing (players' involvement in spot-fixing) became known, we were on a tour of England. There, Mohammad Amir was called by Afridi into a room. I said to Afridi, let me also come with you. He said, you wait outside the room. Then, I heard the sound of a slap. Shahid Afridi slapped him (Amir) and said, 'Amir, tell me what the truth is.' Then he told everything," the retired cricketer said.
However, he also claimed that he became suspicious of the three players' conduct much before the whole scandal burst into the public limelight. "These people (Butt, Amir and Asif) had been doing it (spot-fixing) for many matches. I suspected that he (Butt) deliberately didn't bring the bat in line of the ball. So, I told him (Afridi) two or three times that I think he is getting out deliberately and not scoring runs deliberately. He ignored my views and said this is just your imagination running wild.
"Alright, I thought, he was the captain and it was my duty to tell him this. In Colombo, we were playing the T20 World Cup and had a match against New Zealand. He was playing with me so I said to him that...we now have a good partnership...so let start hitting big shots. But he asked me not to. I didn't realise it then and thought maybe he is right. But after a couple of overs, I said to him that I am starting to hit big shots, so, you give me the strike and take the single to bring me on strike. But he would deliberately take the single after playing two to three dot deliveries. He got me dismissed by putting me under pressure. I was annoyed and thought, what has he done? As soon as I returned to the dressing room, I told Shahid Afridi that he is doing this and has deliberately got me dismissed. But he said, "No, no, there is nothing like this." Then, about a year later, the same thing happened in full view of everyone," claimed the former Test cricketer.
Problems with Razzaq's claims
Now the problem with this statement is that the spot-fixing scandal broke in 2010. Sri Lanka hosted the World T20 in 2012, so Razzaq's claim about him batting with Butt against New Zealand in Colombo during the event, about a year before the scandal can't be true. Furthermore, when the involvement of these cricketers in such shady activities came to light, during the final Test of a four-match series in England at Lord's, Afridi wasn't part of the team and had, in fact, retired from Test cricket well before that. So, either Razzaq's is mixing up events or concocting a story.
What is a little bit more incredulous is his story about how his suspicions regarding Butt were confirmed. "We have a friend in UK who has a mobile shop. Mazhar Majeed's (the middleman who facilitated the fixing) mobile was not working and he went to that shop. There must have been some technical fault and he (the friend) said you can pick it up two days later. When he was working on the mobile, he pressed the button and the mobile got turned on and he saw that there were many messages with the name 'Salman Butt Cricketer.' So, he read all the messages and copied them. He then told Afridi about it and also myself. That's why they were caught," Razzaq told everyone on a Pakistani TV show.
It sounds too much of a coincidence that the chief figure in the fixing scandal would give his mobile for repair to the shop of a friend of Razzaq. Besides, how could a person casually deposit his mobile containing such sensitive information for repair? Lastly, it wasn't Razzaq or Afridi, but the English tabloid which brought the sinister dealings into public view through a sting operation. Lastly, if Afridi and Razzaq knew about all this, their not informing the ICC is a punishable act itself.
Unfortunately, the anchor of this show seemed unaware of all the facts and didn't counter question Razzaq on the veracity of these facts. Otherwise, he may have been exposed as a fibber.