Cricketer Mohammad Asif is released

First published in Sport

Pakistan cricketer Mohammad Asif has been released from jail after serving half of a 12-month sentence for his part in a fixing scam.

Asif, 29, the former world number two Test bowler, was freed from Canterbury Prison in Kent this morning, according to his lawyers, SJS Solicitors, based in Balham, south London.

He was one of three Pakistan cricketers who received custodial sentences at London’s Southwark Crown Court in November over a scandal that rocked world sport.

Ex-Test captain Salman Butt, 27, was jailed for two and a half years for his role as the “orchestrator” of a plot to bowl deliberate no-balls in the 2010 Lord’s Test against England.

Mohammad Amir, 19, who had been tipped to become one of the all-time great fast bowlers, was released from Portland Prison in Dorset in February after serving half of his six-month sentence.

Mazhar Majeed, 36, the corrupt London-based sports agent at the heart of the fixing scandal, was jailed for two years and eight months.

All three players are serving five-year bans from cricket imposed by the International Cricket Council (ICC).

The fixing scandal emerged after an undercover News of the World reporter approached Majeed in August 2010 pretending to be a wealthy Indian businessman seeking major international cricketers for a tournament.

The agent, from Croydon, south London, was secretly filmed accepting £150,000 in cash from the journalist as part of an arrangement to rig games.

Majeed promised the reporter that Asif and Amir would deliver three no-balls at specific points during the Test between Pakistan and England at Lord’s from August 26 to 29, 2010.

He claimed he had been carrying out fixing for two and a half years and had seven players from Pakistan’s national side working for him.

Explaining why he bowled a no-ball when Majeed said he would, Asif alleged that Butt told him, “run faster, f***er”, moments before his delivery.

The trial judge, Mr Justice Cooke, said there was no evidence that Asif had taken part in fixing before the Lord’s match but added: “It is hard to see how this could be an isolated occurrence for you.”

Asif took his 100th Test wicket during Pakistan’s 2010 series in England.

He had run into controversy before. He twice tested positive for the performance-enhancing drug nandrolone and was held in Dubai for 19 days in 2008 after opium was found in his wallet.

Amir and Butt failed in an attempt to have their sentences reduced at the Court of Appeal in November.

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