PAKISTAN TRIO GUILTY

Former captain Butt and bowlers Asif and Amir face prison after being found guilty of spot-fixing offences

DISGRACED Pakistan cricketers Salman Butt, Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Amir face the prospect of up to seven years behind bars after they were all found guilty yesterday of spot-fixing during last summer’s tour of England.

Former Test captain Butt and fast bowlers Asif and Amir, who pleaded guilty on 16 September to charges of conspiracy to cheat at gambling and accepting corrupt payments, plotted to bowl deliberate no-balls in the Lord’s Test against England as part of a betting scam.

Amir (right) issued a heartfelt apology for his actions through his barrister, Ben Emmerson QC, who told the court at an earlier hearing: “Amir wants to make it clear he wants to take full responsibility for what he did.

“This vulnerable 18-year-old boy, as he was then, was subjected to extreme pressure from those upon whom he should have been able to rely. He recognises the damage he has caused Pakistan cricket. and he wishes to do his best to put that right.”

By stark contrast, the more experienced pair of Butt and Asif, who will be sentenced today along with Amir, both strenuously denied any involvement in match-fixing throughout the four-week trial.

International Crick Council chief executive Haroon Lorgat believes yesterday’s verdict will send a clear message to anyone involved in attempting to con cricket fans across the world.

He said: “I would reiterate, as I have on every occasion that I have spoken on this matter, that the ICC has a zero-tolerance attitude towards corruption. We will use everything within our power to ensure that any suggestion of corrupt activity within our game is investigated and, where appropriate, robustly prosecuted.”