London: Disgraced Pakistan cricketer Mohammad Aamir has said that he was tricked into spot-fixing by Salman Butt and bookie Mazhar Majeed and that he did not bowl no balls against England for money.
Aamir, who recently returned to his country after spending three months in a British jail, said he was tricked into the dirty world of match-fixing by Butt and Majeed, who had fixed deals with an unidentified bookie called Ali.
Aamir said he had sent text messages to Ali with his bank account details. He also claims to have sent further texts to Ali trying to find out why he wanted them, but did not receive any money.
Aamir said Majeed later trapped him by saying that, "Oh bro, you`ve got yourself in big trouble, you`re trapped, and your career is at stake."
"He told me that my calls and texts with Ali had been recorded and had reached the ICC," the left-arm pacer said to former England skipper Michael Atherton in an interview in Sky Sports. Explaining further Aamir said Majeed told him that he was using his influence to stop the case and said: "Can you do me a favour? ... Do two no balls for me."
"At this point, I`d like to say how stupid I was. He had spoken about the whole ICC intelligence investigation, and on the other hand he was asking me to deliver no balls. I was panicking so much, it didn`t occur to me how ridiculous it was," Aamir said.
"I knew that it was cheating cricket and that it shouldn`t happen. Then I thought on the other hand that they are helping me. I thought that they are saving me and, if I don`t do it, it might become a problem for me.
"That`s what I was thinking at the time, then I did it. Everyone thinks that I did it for money. I want to clarify that is not the case," Aamir insisted.
Aamir said Butt bertrayed him by involving him in such a muck.
"I`m so angry with Salman. He took advantage of my friendship. He used to call me `innocent one`, like how an elder brother would speak to a younger one. He should have helped me instead of involving me in all this," he said. Amir then apologised again for his involvement in spot-fixing.
"Bearing in mind the Pakistani culture, where my situation is concerned, it hits very hard. The public has such passion for the sport that you are recognised immediately, even if you are just walking down the road.
"And from that you can see how much the sport is loved by the Pakistani public. When this happened, as the whole world found out, everyone was so angry," he said.
"I had come onto the scene so young and, within a year, Allah (God) showered me with so much blessing - along with that was the love I received from the people. Therefore, I understand they were angry and will keep feeling that way, Amir said.
"I apologise to them. I ask for their forgiveness. I messed up," he added.
Having learnt his lesson, Aamir also had a word of suggestion for young cricketers around the world.
"I`d like to say a word of warning for young players out there. If anyone asks you to do something wrong, you must inform the authorities. Today it`s me in this situation, tomorrow it could well be someone else," he said.
"I want to say there are people out there who will try and get you involved in fixing. And they don`t trap you by pointing a gun to your head. They befriend you. They try and give you gifts and establish a relationship with you," Aamir said.
While Aamir has completed his jail term, Butt and another accused in the scandal Mohammad Asif are still serving their 30 and 12 months sentences in Britain.