Pakistan news

Mohammad Amir returns to Pakistan

Umar Farooq

February 26, 2012

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Mohammad Amir returns to Pakistan, Lahore, February 26, 2012
Mohammad Amir is back in Lahore after being released from jail © Associated Press
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Mohammad Amir, the Pakistan fast bowler, has returned home nearly a month after being released from jail in Dorset, where he had served half of a six-month sentence for his part in a spot-fixing scam.

He landed at Lahore's Alama Iqbal International Airport around 4.45am on Sunday and left through a side exit to evade the media. Amir was accompanied by his solicitor Sajida Malik and was received by his father and his brother. They drove back to his family bungalow in Lahore's Defence Housing Authority area.

"He made a mistake and he admitted it," Amir's mentor, Asif Bajwa, told ESPNcricinfo. "He is a strong young boy and knows how to withstand pressure both in cricket and in life, so I believe he definitely will return.

"Now what required is his image building. He has already served his term being imprisoned in London. We have hired a solicitor from London who will provide us legal aid and we will decide whether to appeal before the Court of Arbitration for Sport or not."

Amir and two of his team-mates, Salman Butt and Mohammad Asif, were sentenced in November 2011 at Southwark Crown Court of conspiracy to accept corrupt payments and conspiracy to cheat at gambling after a plot was uncovered in a News of the World sting operation to bowl deliberate no-balls in a Test against England in 2010.

In February 2011, an ICC tribunal had also banned Amir for five years from playing any level of cricket in the world.

The Pakistan board is keen to talk to Amir about his future and Zaka Ashraf, the PCB chairman, has hinted that Amir will be welcomed to Pakistan cricket once he served his ban.

"Obviously someone has to sit with him and listen to his part of the story," Wasim Bari, the PCB's Director of Training and Education, told ESPNcricinfo. "I have no directive about any plan from the PCB for Amir but I read about the chairman's willingness to allow Amir back once he has served his ban. I don't know what his plan for the future is but if he needs any rehabilitation we definitely will provide him [with it]."

The PCB has not made any official contact with the cricketer since his ban but has kept track of the spot-fixing case. It has said it won't provide any legal cover to the cricketer but could provide Amir anti-corruption lectures and educational lectures.

"Obviously we will be meeting him to find out the root cause of the spot-fixing issue in Pakistan cricket," PCB chief operating officer, Subhan Ahmad, said. "We will talk to him to find out how and why he got involved in this corruption. Initially he was not very honest with us so we need to ask him questions. We also want to discuss his rehabilitation with him."

Edited by Siddarth Ravindran

Umar Farooq is ESPNcricinfo's Pakistan correspondent

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© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

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