Spot-fixing controversy February 3, 2012

PCB chairman wants Amir return


PCB chairman Zaka Ashraf has said that Mohammad Amir, the Pakistan fast bowler who was released from custody in the UK on Wednesday, will be welcomed back to the national team once he has served his ICC ban. Ashraf added that Amir would be given financial support while undergoing rehabilitation.

The 19-year-old Amir was released from Portland Young Offenders Institution in Dorset after serving half of a six-month sentence for his part in a spot-fixing scam. He is currently in London where he will meet his lawyers to draw up an appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) against the five-year ban imposed on him by the ICC for the same offence.

"Once he serves the ban, then he could come into the team," Ashraf said. "He is a young Pakistani, he committed a mistake and it was a case of a huge talent lost.

"We will have to see how his appeal goes in the CAS. After serving the ban he can come back in the team, but the final decision will be down to the selectors who will judge his fitness.

"I want to see Amir back, but only after considering the legality of the case and only after he serves the ban. We can do the rehab programme while he is serving his ban. We can do the rehab programme and also use him in lectures to other players so that he can be financially helped."

An ICC tribunal banned Amir for five years in February 2011. His team-mate Mohammad Asif was given a seven-year ban - with two years suspended - and the former Pakistan captain Salman Butt was banned for ten years, five suspended. Shortly after the decision Amir announced his intention to appeal the decision to the CAS, an arbitration body set up to settle legal disputes relating to sport.

Amir and his two team-mates were give custodial sentences in November 2011 after being convicted at Southwark Crown Court of conspiracy to accept corrupt payments and conspiracy to cheat at gambling. A plot to bowl deliberate no-balls in a Test against England in 2010 was uncovered in a News of the World sting operation. Amir and Butt lost an appeal against the sentence in November in the Court of Appeal in London.

The judge, Mr Justice Cooke, ruled at Southwark Crown Court that the affair was "so serious that only imprisonment will suffice". Butt was sentenced to two-and-a-half years, Asif was jailed for one year, and Amir for six months. Mazhar Majeed, the players' agent, received a sentence of two years eight months. Majeed had boasted to undercover reporters that he could arrange for Pakistan cricketers to rig elements of games for money and was surreptitiously filmed accepting £150,000 in cash from a journalist.

Ashraf blamed Majeed for the players' involvement in spot-fixing and reiterated that Pakistan cricket would not give up on Amir.

"Definitely we will rehabilitate Amir through an education programme," he said. "Whatever has happened we are sad, not only me but also most of the Pakistani people are sad for this young boy who, with the other players, was trapped by Majeed."

George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Shahab on February 5, 2012, 18:27 GMT

    guys, just mark my words, amir will be back sooner than anyone thinks. icc will reward him for testimg against asif and butt. ...remember i said this 1st on feb 5, 2012.

  • stuart on February 5, 2012, 17:17 GMT

    He still has a few years of his ban to serve and will need to be bought back properly. For the sake of the game he needs to be banned for the length he is and while he is young and does deserve a second chance lets not forget this was a form of match fixing and in other sports he would be banned for life.

  • Balaji on February 5, 2012, 17:08 GMT

    When I first saw this spot fixing stuff, I felt really bad for Amir. But any talk of fast tracking him back to the Pakistan team is bad. As it is Amir has been treated fairly leniently, with the judge taking note of his age. His ban is also the least of the three. So I say, let him serve out his ban, train and come back.

  • Dummy4 on February 5, 2012, 16:43 GMT

    he was trapped.he deserves another chance.pcb should help reduce the ban

  • Dummy4 on February 5, 2012, 15:34 GMT

    I think as a punishment he should be allowed to play immediately but for India...

  • Dummy4 on February 5, 2012, 14:05 GMT

    He's a cheat who wouldn't speak out until he was well and truly busted. The fact that he hasn't even got the humility to accept his punishment is just as damning as the crime in my opinion. Pakistan have moved on and have been vastly improved since those three and several others were removed from the team. Their renaissance has been wonderful to watch as is the steady leadership of Misbah. If he ever plays another game on an overseas tour, he better be prepared for the crowd shouting "NO BALL" every time he bowls.

  • Dummy4 on February 5, 2012, 13:30 GMT

    @ Ahmad Asad, sending him on a tableegh , would not be a bad option as he would become like Inzamam and Mohammad Yousuf.....

  • Dummy4 on February 5, 2012, 13:00 GMT

    Reduce the ban to 2 years with community service! Keep the big sentences for the ringleaders.

  • Carl on February 5, 2012, 12:03 GMT

    Why do people keep commenting that world cricket needs this arrogant cheat back. He is a man (not a boy), he knew what he was doing and showed blatent disrespect for cricket (thus the arrogant comment as he thought he'd get away with it) but many people on here are begging for his return. He was "trapped in this controversy", don't make me laugh he was an active part of it.

    Cricket does not need this man back, he should be made an example of. We all make mistakes but this is a pretty big one.

    If he comes back I would never watch a game with him involved and anyone else who loves cricket will do the same.

    All of the good work being done by Pakistan at the minute is being undone with silly comments like this one for the PCB. Please Pakistan fans, you love cricket don't let yourselves down by begging for the return of this man.

    oh @ Futurist 2002 his crime was a terrible one, the punishment should have been a lifetime ban.

  • Dummy4 on February 5, 2012, 11:43 GMT

    I guess if he returns to PAK Cric., right now, PAK team will not take much time to be No. 1 in all rankings.

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