London: Competing in a club match while serving a five-year ban for spot-fixing might have landed Mohammad Amir in trouble with the ICC but the Pakistan pacer has managed to earn the goodwill of the cricketers with whom he played.
Amir was described as dreadful while bowling but "nice and down to earth" off the field by the players of Addington, the club for which Amir turned up.
Amir`s appearance in the match created a storm and the ICC is investigating if the Pakistani defied his five-year ban by playing for Addington.
But for Raheal Shafi, an Addington batsman, Amir`s simplicity was heartwarming and he even prayed that the young bowler`s appearance for the club does not land him in trouble.
"He arrived really early with a few of the other guys. He was very down-to-earth. No one would have known he was an international star. He was giving tips to some of the lads on how to bowl and he just got on with playing cricket," Shafi was quoted as saying by a newspaper.
Shafi said everyone was impressed with Amir`s speed which forced rival batsmen to wear helmets, which they generally avoid while competing at that level.
"He was probably holding back his pace but he was still very quick to the other guys. The keeper took a couple of short ones and said he bowled quick. Most of the guys at our level don`t wear helmets but they did on Saturday."
"He was a nice guy and I just hope playing for us does not get him into trouble. We thought we would ask if he was available and would like to play the rest of the season for us, so it came as a big shock to find it all in the newspapers," Shafi said.
Matthew Quade, rival team St Luke`s wicketkeeper, said it was a challenge to face Amir.
"We were a bit daunted but it was a great opportunity to face one of the world`s great bowlers. His first over, he was obviously holding back and was hit for seven runs, which he clearly didn’t enjoy because he stepped it up a gear in the next over.
"I would say even though he wasn`t bowling at full capacity he was still at least 10 miles per hour faster than anything we normally face. His bowling was so accurate, very impressive indeed.
Quade said Amir was way above the average standard of their game and he was happy to not give his wicket to the Pakistani, though he faced just two balls from him.
"I would describe the standard of our games as average and he certainly wasn`t that. It was fantastic for us to play against such a big name in the game even if he did take four for nine. I faced two balls from him and survived them so I was delighted," Quade said.