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'Amir's return too early to predict'

Associated Press
Feb 02, 2012 at 07:39pm IST

Dubai: Pakistan captain Misbah-ul-Haq feels sympathy for banned former teammate Mohammad Amir, but pointed out that any possible early return for the fast bowler to play cricket can only be decided by sporting authorities.

The 19-year-old Amir was released from jail in London on Wednesday because of good behavior after serving half his six-month sentence for spot-fixing with two teammates during a Test against England in August 2010.

Amir is banned by the International Cricket Council until September 2015, but his mentor said the player will now appeal to have his suspension overturned at the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

Amir's return too early to predict: Misbah

Amir was banned by the ICC until 2015, but his mentor says the player will appeal against the ban.

"I am not the concerned person, it's what the ICC decides," Misbah said. "I think it feels sad whoever suffers that, as a cricketer you feel sad about such incidents. But sometimes you have nothing in your control and you can't do anything.

"Once he is cleared, once he is available, then only we will see what happens. Before that, I have nothing to do with that."

Amir pleaded guilty before the trial at London's Southwark Crown Court last year.

Former Pakistan captain Salman Butt and fast bowler Mohammad Asif are still serving their sentences in London after being convicted of also receiving money to ensure no-balls were bowled in the Lord's Test 18 months ago.

Butt was jailed for 2½ years and Asif for 1½ years.

Misbah said he is more concerned about the third Test against England, which starts Friday.

"We have nothing to do with that, we are here to play cricket and we are focusing on that," Misbah said. "I think it's all up to the appropriate people what they think, what they say about him (Amir)."

England captain Andrew Strauss, who was also leader in that infamous Test in 2010, was also reluctant to get involved.

"It's not my job to hand out bans or otherwise," Strauss said. "I have said that the deterrent for match-fixing or spot-fixing should be as strong as possibly can be so that people don't do it in future, so it's up to ICC to deal with that."

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