Team management failed Amir, says mentor
Mohamamd Amir was a victim of Pakistan's cricketing culture and, specifically, the team management that failed to protect him, his mentor Asif Bajwa has said. Bajwa runs an academy in Rawalpindi that became Amir's second home from the age of 11, where he would live for long stretches with Bajwa looking after him.
"It was the team management's responsibility to take care of him," Bajwa told ESPNcricinfo. "They should have taken a strict stance but the culture is very lenient and unprofessional. Why couldn't they shut out those elements that tempted our cricketers?
"I brought up him up but he was distracted only after entering the international arena, where he didn't find the right people around him. They [the PCB] wanted a cricketer to represent Pakistan - we gave them one. But now who is responsible? Who is to be blame? He was a player with extraordinary cricketing skills but he was very naïve ... the board should have taken care of the other elements."
Bajwa said he had been in contact with Amir during the spot-fixing trial. "My interaction with Amir until Wednesday was very emotional, he sounded helpless and insisted that he wanted one more chance - everyone deserves a second chance. He apologised to me, and I promised him that I'd help him to eventually return to the game. It's a challenge for me to rebuild his reputation, but I will be doing that. It's a challenge to remove a stigma, as our society is very cruel, but I believe he will be back."
On Thursday, Amir was sentenced to six months in a young offenders' detention centre for his role in the spot-fixing case; the rules suggest he can be out in three months' time on good behaviour. His former team-mates Mohammad Asif and Salman Butt, and their agent Mazhar Majeed, were sent to jail for terms ranging from a year to 32 months.
In his remarks while handing out the sentence, Justice Cooke noted Amir's background - he comes from a village near Islamabad where his father was a watchman in a government school. Compared to his fellow convicts, he was found to be unsophisticated, uneducated and impressionable.
"An 18-year-old from a poverty-stricken village background, very different to your own privileged one, who, whilst a very talented bowler, would be inclined to do what his senior players and particularly his captain told him, especially when told there was money in it for him and this was part of the common culture. For an impressionable youngster, not long in the team to stand out against the blandishments of his captain would have been hard," the judge said.
Umar Farooq is ESPNcricinfo's Pakistan correspondent