‘I started going insane’ – Afridi admits being aware of spot-fixing saga beforehand

Former Pakistan captain Shahid Afridi, in his recently released autobiography ‘Game Changer’, reveals he knew about the 2010 spot-fixing saga even before the sting operation took place. The all-rounder talks about various incidents in the lead up to the three Pakistani players – Salman Butt, Mohammad Amir, Mohammad Asif – getting accused for their roles in the scandal.
Afridi was the captain of Pakistan across all formats before handing over the Test captaincy to Salman Butt in July 2010. Before these happenings, he had led his nation in the Asia Cup in Sri Lanka and the WT20 in West Indies. In his book, Afridi details about different episodes – the text messages he was able to retrieve, Abdul Razzaq’s warning, indifferent response from Waqar Younis and Yawar, team management’s denial, Majeed’s closeness with the players and also what led to his sudden decision of quitting from the longest format abruptly.“See, before the Sri Lanka tour, Majeed and his family had joined the cricket team during the championship. At one of the Sri Lankan beaches, Majeed’s young son dropped his father’s mobile phone in the water and it stopped working. When Majeed went back to England, he took his phone for repair to a mobile fix-it. The phone stayed at the shop for days. In a random coincidence, the shop owner turned out to be a friend of a friend of mine (this may sound like too much of a coincidence but the Pakistani community in England is quite closely connected). While fixing the phone, the shop-owner, who was asked to retrieve the messages, came across Majeed’s messages to the players of the Pakistan team. Though he shouldn’t have seen what he did, it was that leak from him to my friend and a few others (whom I won’t name) that looped me in on the scam.“Soon, word got around that something strange was happening with the cricket team. It was that leak which probably tipped off the reporting team from News of the World as well. It was sheer coincidence: a Pakistani repairman in London who couldn’t keep his eyes and mouth shut about a broken cellphone from Sri Lanka. But I’m not surprised: when God has to execute justice, it happens in the most unexpected ways.”Earlier when Abdul Razzaq, fellow Pakistan team-mate, had a chat and cautioned him of the troika of players’ wrongdoings, Afridi had rubbished those claims. Afridi also goes onto add that, when he kept Waqar Younis (the then head coach of Pakistan) informed, the latter took it lightly.