Pak cricket community divided on Amir`s return
Karachi: Pakistan`s cricket community is divided over the future of shamed fast bowler Mohammad Amir who is scheduled to return to Pakistan later this month after completing a jail sentence in England for spot-fixing.
Amir was released from a young offenders institute in Weymouth on Wednesday and his brother Ejaz on Friday said the youngster was consulting his lawyers about filing an appeal against the five-year ban imposed on him by the ICC`s anti-corruption tribunal.
"He is presently in London and will return this month before that he is consulting his lawyers about appealing against the five year ban which we feel is a bit too much," Ejaz said.
Amir was released after serving three months of his six month sentence which was handed out to him last year by a crown court in London for his role in the spot-fixing scandal that broke out on Pakistan`s tour to England in 2010.
"Amir follows the performance of the Pakistan team very closely and obviously he is gutted that he can`t play cricket. But we are just happy he is out of jail," his brother said.
Amir has the option of appealing against the ICC ban to the sports arbitration court in Switzerland.
Interestingly, even the ICC anti-corruption tribunal had said while imposing the ban on the teenaged pacer that if it had been possible within the rules of the ICC anti-corruption code it would have gone for a lighter sentence against Amir.
Sources in the Pakistan Cricket Board said while the legal counsels were following the Amir case closely but as yet there was no decision on whether the PCB would play any role in requesting the ICC to reconsider the five year ban on the pacer.
"Obviously there is a feeling that Amir is an extraordinary talented player who still has a future in Pakistan cricket. But given the severity of his offence there is a division on what should be the role of the PCB in this affair or when Amir officially appeals against the ICC ban," one official source said.
Pakistan`s former captain and coach Waqar Younis, who is in Dubai as a commentator for the Pakistan and England series, today supported a comeback for the fast bowler.
Amir`s teammates Salman Butt and Mohammad Asif are still in jail serving 30-month and 12-month sentences respectively handed down by a UK court in November last year.
Waqar, who was coach at the time of the spot-fixing scandal said he would support a reduction in the ban.
"I think the ICC should look at ways to reduce the ban because he is very young and has repented and admitted his guilt," he said.
Waqar said while he was not condoning what Amir had done but if the ICC regulations allowed, authorities should look at giving Amir some sort of reprieve.
"He has completed his jail sentence and his age and admission of guilt should be taken into consideration," he said.
Waqar also called for Amir to undergo rehabilitation a view shared by the PCB Chairman Zaka Ashraf who said the young pacer certainly needed counselling and rehabilitation to get over this dark episode of his cricket career.
Pakistan`s former captain Rashid Latif suggested that the PCB should allow Amir back into domestic cricket after he completes two years of the ICC ban.
"The PCB should talk to the ICC about this and at least allow him to play domestic cricket after he completes two years of his ban. He still has a future in Pakistan cricket if he has learnt his lessons," Latif said.
Former captain Moin Khan said that since Amir and the two other players had caused lot of damage to the image of Pakistan cricket the law should be allowed to take its course.