Spot-fixing controversy December 20, 2011

Treat Amir more leniently - Brearley


Mike Brearley, the former England captain, has said that Mohammad Amir, the Pakistan fast bowler currently in prison for his role in the spot-fixing scandal, should be treated more leniently. Brearley said the pressure put on young players to fix spots or matches can be "appalling" and, should they admit their guilt and be willing to play their part in the fight against corruption, they ought to be given a second chance.

"We also need to recognise that the pressure put on the young player by criminal bookies or their agents, or by their corrupt team-mates, can be appalling," Brearley said in his Voice of Cricket Lecture at the Raj Singh Dungarpur World Cricket Summit in Mumbai. "As a result, some of those involved might need to be treated with compassion, especially if they admit their guilt and are willing to be enlisted in the battle against corruption. Deterrent and retributive justice tempered with mercy and discrimination is vital in sentencing and punishing.

"I don't think the whole truth has been told yet, or can be told. The 18-year old Mohammad Amir, who was subject to pressure and was, I believe, uninterested in any illegal financial gain, should have been, and I think should now be, treated much more leniently."

Amir was sentenced to six months in jail after pleading guilty to charges of conspiracy to accept corrupt payments and conspiracy to cheat during the Lord's Test in August last year. The case was brought to court following a sting operation by the News of the World newspaper, which alleged that player agent Mazhar Majeed had arranged for Pakistan captain Salman Butt to ensure Amir and Mohammad Asif would bowl three pre-determined no balls.

Unlike Butt and Asif, who were found guilty after a 21-day trial, Amir had pleaded guilty before the trial began. Justice Cooke, who presided over the trial, said the early admission of guilt played a part in the reduction of Amir's jail term from nine to six months. Amir's appeal against his sentence, however, was subsequently dismissed.

"Like all secret organisations that recruit the naïve for illegal activities, the criminals linked to gambling draw people in by involving them first in activities that seem of a minor importance," Brearley said, adding that such activities could include information about the pitch or fitness of players in the dressing room. "And once in, threats against the player or his family may make it extremely difficult to get out. In the strenuous search for exemplary punishment, there has to be room for giving a misguided young player a second chance."

Brearley said cheating was cricket's most important issue and called for stakeholders to speak out against it. "Whistleblowing should become an absolute duty for everyone in the game."

Siddhartha Talya is a sub editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Dummy4 on December 22, 2011, 8:58 GMT

    Everyone deserve a second chance. We make lot of mistakes but we learn from them and make ourselves batter. The same goes with Aamir.

    Can anyone say that he/she has never cheated for a single word in their exam? I assume it would be a very rare case. We attack crime, so that a criminal become a good person not in a reverse order which can make a first timer a habitual.

  • Dummy4 on December 22, 2011, 8:11 GMT

    Anyway he is serving his sentence which will be ending soon and cannot be reverted. He is not a culprit, his circumstances and immatured age does this evil to him. ICC should consider to lift his ban completely and allow him to play. Otherwise excellent telent will go waste. I am sure he will never commit these kinds of mistakes and also he will become the role model for other future young players and guide them in right path.

  • Dummy4 on December 22, 2011, 2:59 GMT

    aamir was no akram dude still wasa long way good bowler and asif mainly played in green tops

  • Cameron on December 21, 2011, 15:24 GMT

    vatsap, they committed a criminal offence in England, that's why they were tried here. I do think the courts considered Amir's plea and age. I was saddened to hear about the case as Amir seemed such a promising young cricketer.

  • Dummy4 on December 21, 2011, 15:16 GMT

    to be honest he is just paying a price of being pakistani ..i knw he commit a crime but if there was indian player or english player they would have get second chance ...take an example of suresh raina he got caught up in srilanka but it dint even come up in any news not even in cricinfo that how biased media is ... they dont want pakistan to groom whether its indian or england or australia ...

  • mahjut on December 21, 2011, 15:15 GMT

    No J_.doe I don't thik that has to be case. I know for sure that if you are surrounded by people advising you on what is considered 'right' it will sink in ... and you will be grateful for leniency. If you punish without consideration (ie. merely becasue it's a rule) that's when problems occur...

  • hibbatur on December 21, 2011, 14:23 GMT

    I am a Pakistan fan and I still miss the genius bowler Amir. However Amir did something very wrong which he must not have done, he has to pay for it, cricket cant afford to forgive corruption. Future Amirs would learn their lesson from todays Amir, how much sad it may be.

  • Tom on December 21, 2011, 14:22 GMT

    Imagine Macrath and Wasim bowling together in Australia. Cricket has lost two of the most talented bowlers in Aamir and Asif. If these two are still there with Gul and great spinners a 200+ score will be a barrier for even Indian side on good wickets.Though Asif had some controversies before but Aamir is virtually innocent. He needed some one to come out to his rescue but no one did. Remember Cronje of South Africa did the same thing some years back but than he accepted the blame on himself and saved young Gibbs and other involved players. The only guilty party here was Salman Butt and he should be banned for life. But than these harsh Ban are a blessing for disguise for Pakistan cricket. They are showing great maturity and consistency now.

  • Cricinfouser on December 21, 2011, 14:12 GMT

    @vatsap - The players stood trial in England for the very simple reason that the offences were committed in England. The appropriate punishment under English law was a term of imprisonment. It therefore makes perfect sense that they are behind bars. If Messrs Boje, Warne and Waugh had committed an offence in India, the Indian authorities were free to apply for their extradition. Had a cricketer from outside the sub continent been arrested there, the role of diplomats would merely have been to ensure that they had access to legal advice. There would have been no 'diplomatic storm'. As the Pakistani High Commissioner discovered, there is absolutely nothing to be gained by attempting to interfere in the legal process of another country.

    @dmqi - As a spectator, I expect to see players seeking to win a game of cricket. Accordingly, I am quite happy to be deprived of the dubious pleasure of watching Amir or anyone else bowl no balls to order.

  • bhanu on December 21, 2011, 13:20 GMT

    I am one of those extremists who believes that corrupted players are no better than terrorists. In this case, the other two criminals (they don't even deserve to be addressed by a name) deserve more punishment than what they are serving now, because their main motive was trading innocent peoples faith for money and they never felt guilty about that; this guy, on the other hand, is a teenager, uneducated, and might be worried about the consequences of saying no to a criminal who is leading the team. Unlike the other two criminals, he has at least admitted that he committed a crime. I hope this guy do justice to his talent and to his country fans, at least after serving the punishment.

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