London: The lawyer of Pakistani cricketer Mohammed Asif, who is being tried for the spot-fixing scandal, has accused former captain Salman Butt of "pressurising" his client to bowl no-ball at the infamous Lord`s Test last year.
Both Butt, who was leading the side during England series, and Asif are facing charges of conspiracy to cheat and obtain and accept corrupt payments, after allegedly conspiring with their agent Mazhar Majeed, and fast-bowler Mohammed Aamir to agree to bowl pre-determined no-balls. Butt and Asif deny the charges.
Asif`s legal counsel, Alexander Milne QC, quizzed Butt for about 20 minutes on the 10th day of the trial at Southwark Crown Court on Tuesday.
After the court played the over in question bowled by Asif, the tenth over in which a no-ball came from the last ball of it, Milne pointedly said to Butt in the witness stand: "You had been talking to Mr Asif through this over and pressurising him," a cricket website reported.
The court has previously heard Asif say in a police transcript from an interview a year ago that he has been "never pressured by anyone".
The jury had seen during the footage that England batsman Andrew Strauss had to pull away before one delivery and Milne suggested he did that because of the distracting talk between Asif and his captain Butt, who was fielding at a very short and straight mid-off, next to the middle of the pitch.
"I`m not there to pressure him, just to encourage," Butt replied to Milne`s suggestion.
Milne hit back: "Before Mr Asif bowled his no-ball, you said to him, `run faster, you are running too slow`."
Butt denied that such a conversation had taken place: "If you have played cricket in any part of your life you would know that these things are never said. It is no term. There`s no suggestion in cricket as `run faster`. He is not running the 100 meters, he`s bowling. Asif has never been about pace, he is a rhythm bowler."
Milne continued to press Butt: "This was a man (Asif) who had been turned down twice for an appeal for a wicket in the over and you were piling on the pressure."
Butt rejected Milne`s suggestion once more: "There are certain terms that are part of cricket and others that are not. `Run faster` is the first time I have heard it during this case."
First Published: Tuesday, October 18, 2011, 23:13