Karachi: Days after International Cricket Council [ICC] CEO Haroon Lorgat advised banned Pakistan fast bowler Mohammad Amir to concentrate on his rehabilitation, Pakistan Cricket Board [PCB] Chairman Zaka Ashraf termed Amir's five-year ban for his role in spot-fixing as "harsh", suggesting him to challenge it.
"I think the five-year ban is too harsh and it is down to Amir if he wishes to appeal against that lengthy ban imposed upon him. I would suggest that he does appeal against the ban, and I think the relevant body should take a lenient view given his age and the talent he possesses," Ashraf said after his return from the Asia Cup in Bangladesh, which Pakistan won.
"We should not let this young boy's career be ruined. We should all try to help him and understand that he was trapped into spot-fixing," he said.
Ashraf, who had recently met Amir at the PCB headquarters, said the young pacer was sorry for the mistake he committed.
"Amir was very apologetic at the meeting we had with him and spoke of how he was trapped into spot-fixing. He is such a wonderful young talent that has been wasted and it's such a shame that he cannot even use our practice facilities," Ashraf was quoted as saying by a website.
"Coming from such a remote village, Amir could have become the best bowler in the world. He has served his prison sentence and that matter is now closed, but the issue of the ICC ban is obviously still ongoing," Ashraf said.
PCB has plans in place for Amir's rehabilitation, including lectures to young Pakistan cricketers.
"First and foremost, we are going to arrange for some psychiatric treatment for Amir, which I feel is absolutely essential. Then he is going to give lectures to other cricketers in Pakistan on his own experiences and explain to other cricketers to not get trapped like he was."
"It will be a series of talks that he gives, delivering guidelines to other cricketers. He can explain first hand to our cricketers to avoid such people who look to trap cricketers and provide the cricketers with first-hand experience on such matters," he said.