London: Outspoken former Pakistan Test cricketer Basit Ali has called on the national selectors and the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) to reduce the ban of promising fast bowler Mohammad Amir.
In an interview, Basit Ali clearly came out on the side of the young man, stating his belief that the 20-year old left-armer was a changed person and deserved a second chance and that the ICC should consider a reduction in his ban.
"I have talked to Amir recently and he is a completely changed person now. He has accepted his wrong doings and got the punishment (for spot-fixing) by serving his time in jail and away from cricket. I appeal to the ICC to look into his matter and reduce his ban," Ali said.
"He made mistakes and he has already stated everything about it. I feel he should get the benefit of doubt as he was a teenager and the ICC should help him. I have no doubt in my mind that Amir will come back and will play for Pakistan and will come back as a better bowler and better person," he added.
Basit, who scored 858 runs in 19 Tests at an average of 26.81, claimed he was alarmed by Pakistan`s depleted fast bowling resources and believed it was imperative for Pakistan to knock on any door that would help reducing Amir`s ban.
"Everybody makes mistakes in their lives and Amir is no different. The thing which pleases me is that Amir has realised that he made mistakes and has apologized a number of times. I would urge PCB Chairman Zaka Ashraf to take his case to the ICC and to try and help him by getting his ban reduced," said Ali.
"Zaka Ashraf has already done lots of good things for Pakistani cricket and he would do a lot of favour to Pakistan cricket if he somehow can bring Amir back to play for Pakistan, sooner rather than later," Basit concluded.
The five-year ban imposed by the ICC Tribunal in 2011 in Qatar is due to end in February 2016.