I believe cricket suffered because of me - Amir

Mohammad Amir, the Pakistan fast bowler, always believed his second chance in cricket would come and that he has what it takes to make a strong comeback

Umar Farooq
Umar Farooq
Mohammad Amir, the Pakistan fast bowler, always believed his second chance in cricket would come and that he has what it takes to make a strong comeback. Amir has been allowed by the ICC to return to domestic cricket under the auspices of the PCB with immediate effect. His five-year ban for his role in spot-fixing during Pakistan's tour of England in 2010 was due to end on September 2.
Over the last four years, Amir completed an Anti Corruption and Security Unit (ACSU) education program with PCB, showed a high degree of remorse, and disclosed relevant information to the PCB as well as the anti-corruption units. After being interviewed by the ICC, Amir was given the go-ahead, though he can't play on the international circuit yet.
"I believe cricket suffered because of me," Amir had said in January 2014, when he was interviewed for the documentary Death of a Gentleman due to release this year. "Fans were disheartened because of me. I want to make them happy and win them over again. They felt bad for cricket I have to tell them that cricket is a gentleman's game and I am going to prove it. Once Amir had a dream to play for Pakistan now Amir's dream is not only to play for Pakistan but also for these people around the world.
"All eyes will be on me and I have to prove this with my performance, my attitude, my behavior. Pressure obviously will be there because I will be getting a new life so I have to play my cricket positively. It's different because this time I wont be playing for myself, I will be playing for the fans of cricket, and not only for Pakistani fans but all those around the world who followed me, supported me."
With the Pakistan domestic season about to finish before starting again in October, Amir's only chance of competitive cricket would be a possible return in the Super Eight T20 Cup in Pakistan after the World Cup. However, a few Grade 1 teams had already shown an interest to sign him for next season. National Bank of Pakistan, who had revoked Amir's contract after his ban, later offered to retain the bowler upon his return.
However, the immediate opportunity is to play Grade 2 cricket, and it has been learned that Amir could play for KESC in coming weeks. "I always think when I am in my room, laying on my bed imagining being in ground with ball in my hand," he said. "My eyes are closed, I am taking a run-up to take a wicket on my first ball. Whatever, if the batsman is right or left, I have a plan to do inswing to get the batsman bowled.
"Also what I mostly imagine is the feeling of taking a wicket on the first ball. When I get my first wicket on my return: I will expose my tights under my shirt saying, 'Amir is back.' So I am thinking and imagining this again and again.
"To be honest, when I left my house I knew that it will be challenging to play for Pakistan. Maybe it was difficult for me earlier, but now I have ample international cricket experience so it won't be difficult this time. I am a strong believer that if one is positive he will have the positive result. I have a belief in Allah. I can do all of my hard work and maintain my good faith and the result is in the hands of Allah, but the fruit obviously will be positive."
In August 2010, Britain's News of the World tabloid had conducted a sting operation exposing Amir, Salman Butt and Mohammd Asif as part of a spot-fixing scam to bowl no-balls during the Lord's Test. Amir was the only one of the three to not contest the charges against him and he was sentenced in by Southwark Crown Court and banned by the ICC for five years.

Umar Farooq is ESPNcricinfo's Pakistan correspondent. @kalson