England off-spinner Graeme Swann has revealed that he will never forget the grim atmosphere after the 2010 Lord’s Test against Pakistan when the undercover ‘spot-fixing’ sting was published by the News of the World.
The spot-fixing controversy centres on allegations that then Pakistan captain Salman Butt, and fast bowlers Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Amir took bribes from a bookmaker, Mazhar Majeed, to deliberately under-perform at certain times in the match.
“It was vile information to digest. The next morning was the most bizarre atmosphere in which I’ve played international cricket. We just didn’t know how to celebrate. None of us spoke to the opposition,” the Sun quoted Swann, as saying in his autobiography, The Breaks Are Off, My Autobiography.
“We just couldn’t wait to get off the field — we just wanted to wash our hands of the series. The after-match presentation was held away from the public glare and we just grabbed our winners’ medals and cheques and got out of there,” he added.
Undercover reporters from News of the World, led by Mazher Mahmood, had secretly video-taped Majeed accepting money and informing the reporters that Asif and Amir would deliberately bowl no-balls at specific points in an over.
This information could have been used by gamblers to place bets.
In response to these allegations, Scotland Yard arrested Majeed on the charge of match-fixing.
The International Cricket Council (ICC) banned Butt, Asif and Amir for terms of between five and ten years.
Butt and Asif have also been found guilty by a London court on criminal charges relating to spot-fixing.
Amir and Mahjeed had entered guilty pleas on the same charges.