Even as Pakistan record a facile win over Sri Lanka in the second Test, on the other side of the world, three Pakistan cricketers continue to await the verdict in the spot fixing trial underway at the Southwark Crown Court in London.
The case has heard the perspectives of all parties concerned. However, the jury seems undecided on which way to swing, even after two days of deliberation. The verdict was expected as early as Thursday. However, with no unanimous response available even on Friday, the twelve members have taken the weekend off and will meet once more on Monday to decide the fate of the three Pakistan cricketers – Salman Butt, Mohammad Asif, and Mohammad Aamer.
The trio have been accused of conspiracy to cheat and to obtain corrupt payments after the now defunct News of the World tabloid conducted a sting operation without the knowledge of the Pakistan player agent turned bookie, Mazhar Majeed, who rattled off names and even played a role in playing out the no balls during the fourth Test of the England Pakistan series at Lord’s last year. The incriminating evidence was enough for the ICC to conduct its own separate inquiry under its anti corruption wing to ban all three Pakistan cricketers, beginning with a minimum ban of five years.
However, with the Scotland Yard conducting its own investigations, the three cricketers have been on trial and now await the jury’s verdict and if found guilty, could find themselves behind bars. Of the three, speculation has been rife that the eighteen year old fast bowler, Mohammad Aamer, may have confessed under the hope of leniency as also Majeed. However, a final word is awaited. But the jury appears in two minds which would reflect in the fact that they have been unable to decide on a final single voice and word. Will the case of benefit of doubt apply to the cricketers? Monday will perhaps tell.