New Delhi, Nov 4: Bookmaker Mazhar Majeed's elder brother Azhar feels responsible for all the spot-fixing mess since it was he, who introduced his brother to cricket and cricketers. Mazhar, who got the longest sentence of 32 months, had blamed Salman Butt for corrupting him but Azhar said he does not have any bitter feelings for the former Pakistan captain.
"All through the time I have known Salman, which doesn't include the last 12 months, all I can say is that he is a lovely person. I don't feel bitterness towards Salman, in fact I feel responsible myself because I'm the one who introduced my brother to cricket and to cricket players. We have all got to answer to our maker and if you do something wrong you get punished for it," Azhar said.
"Salman has made a mistake. I cannot hold any kind of hatred to these people. I knew them all well, or thought I did, and I can't feel anything bad towards them."
Azhar claimed that Mazhar is a religious person at heart. "The fact is my brother accepted what he did. He accepted he made a mistake and said he was guilty from the start. He didn't plead guilty to have his sentence reduced. He wanted to do the right thing. He's a very religious man. People might not believe that because of what has gone on, but he is," he told a website.
Azhar said though he helped many a Pakistani players make some big bucks through his agency but no one had the courtesy to call him in the crisis time. "...it does upset me that even though I did quite a bit of business with a lot of players and made some of them good money, not one of them from the team has called me. Because they are so scared that I am Mazhar's brother. It's guilt by association. There are no other words for it," he said.
Azhar's integrity itself was in question during the trial when prosecutor claimed that Azhar was involved in fixing but he shot back saying, had it been the case police and ICC would have questioned him but they haven't as yet.
"That was a total abuse of power from (chief prosecutor) Mr Jafferjee. To say 'we know Azhar was doing it (fixing) as well' - that was way out of order. Not one person from the ECB, the ICC, the Anti-Corruption (and Security) Unit or the police has asked me one question. So if I was at it as Mr Jafferjee said, wouldn't one of these authorities have asked me some questions?," he asked.