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Pak players on trial for 'spot-fixing'

cricket Updated: Oct 05, 2011 16:16 IST

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Two Pakistan Test players went on trial in London charged with so-called spot-fixing during a match against England last year in allegations which rocked the world of cricket.

Former captain Salman Butt, 26, and fast bowler Mohammad Asif, 28, appeared at Southwark Crown Court on Tuesday charged with conspiracy to obtain and accept corrupt payments, and with conspiracy to cheat at gambling.

The charges relate to allegations of the deliberate bowling of no-balls during England's fourth Test against Pakistan at Lord's cricket ground in London in August 2010.

Butt and Asif deny the charges. The offences carry maximum sentences of seven years and two years in prison respectively.

The allegations were made in the Rupert Murdoch-owned News of the World tabloid, which was closed down in July this year when it became engulfed in the phone hacking scandal.

In a packed courtroom, Butt sat in the dock wearing a grey pinstripe suit and white open-necked shirt, one seat away from the taller Asif, who wore a black suit with a white shirt.

Asif listened to the proceedings through an Urdu interpreter.

Potential jurors were asked whether they or their families worked in the gambling industry or earned money from professional cricket or have ever been employed in journalism.

Butt and Asif stood and were asked if they objected to any of the jurors selected, to which they said they did not.

Taking it in turns to read out their oaths, the jurors were then sworn in, in a case which judge Jeremy Cooke said could last up to five weeks.