Karachi: Pakistan's banned paceman, Muhammad Aamir, who was today allowed to play domestic cricket by the ICC, has promised to return to the cricket field as a better human being and player.
The pacer, whose five-year ban officially expires on September 2 this year, was informed by the ICC that he can resume playing domestic cricket immediately but can only return to international arena only after completion of ban.
"Today is the happiest day of my life and I have learnt my lesson. I promise to comeback as not only a better cricketer but also as a better person," Aamir, serving a five-year ban, told PTI.
"For me right now just to get a chance to play domestic cricket in Pakistan. To get another chance to better my life is a gift from God. I have assured the Pakistan Cricket Board and the ICC that I will play my due role in also helping other players understand the consequences of straying from the path," Aamir said.
Aamir who played 14 Tests, 15 ODIs and 18 T20 matches before being banned from cricket in September 2010, also said that every player who has served a punishment period deserved another chance to redeem himself.
"I am happy the authorities have given me a chance to redeem and rehabilitate myself. I want to show everyone what I have learnt from what have been the worst five years of my life," he said.
Aamir said he would require just a month or so to get back into match mode and that he was in negotiation with some departmental teams to play domestic cricket.
With the first class matches in Pakistan over this season Aamir will only have the option of either playing the non-first class Grade two tournament or in the super eight T20 event after the World Cup.
Asked about his detractors who were not in favour of him returning to the cricket field, Aamir said everyone has ate right to have an opinion.
"But they must understand that I have apologized for my actions and I deserve a chance. I will answer them with my behavior and performance on the field," he added.
The decision to relax his ban came after two years of efforts by the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB). Aamir was banned along with former Pakistan captain Salman Butt, and Mohammad Asif for spot-fixing during Pakistan?s tour of England and also spent six months in jail in the United Kingdom.
The decision to let Amir play domestic cricket was made following the ICC board meeting in Dubai on January 28 and after the ICC Anti-Corruption and Security Unit (ACSU) officials met with Aamir last week.
Aamir also said his wife has supported him tremendously and had helped me through everything and added he would be having a official wedding ceremony soon.
Commenting on his performance, Amir said, "all players come under pressure and they have to handle the pressure in a professional manner."
At least two leading departments have already shown interest in signing Aamir to play for them in the domestic season. Sources close to the bowler told PTI that his old employers, National bank and Karachi Electric were keen to sign him.
"K Electric is ready to even offer him a short term contract as they want him to play in the upcoming non-first class Grade two competition while another side, Omar Associates is also contemplating signing him on for the tournament," the source said.
"But Aamir is more interested in getting back his job in National bank who had sacked him and Salman Butt and Muhammad Asif after the trio were banned for spot fixing in early 2011," the source said.
He said that the National bank had sought the opinion of its legal department whether they could offer Aamir employment again.
"The bank has been told that there was no bar to employing Aamir as he was banned and convicted outside Pakistan and didn't spend time in Pakistani jail under Pakistani laws," the source said.
He also stated that the bank had been told that only its Board of Directors could approve the employment of Aamir.
Aamir, Butt and Asif all played for National Bank as leading stars before the spot fixing scandal surfaced in 2010. Another option is for Aamir to play for his regional side either Rawalpindi or Islamabad in the national super eights when it is held after the World Cup.