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Sep 01, 2010 at 06:53pm IST

Family stand by embattled Amir

Islamabad: The family and coach of 18-year-old Pakistani pace bowler Mohammad Amir, one of the three Pakistan cricketers named in spot fixing scandal, insist he is innocent and has been conspired against.

Amir, along with fellow pacer Mohammad Asif and team captain Salman Butt, has been accused of spot-fixing in a sting operation carried out by the British tabloid News of the World.

Both fast bowlers were alleged to have bowled deliberate no-balls during the Lords' Test on the instructions of a bookie, Mazhar Majeed.

Family stand by embattled Pakistani pacer Amir

Amir’s elder brother said the 18-year-old lad had called from London after the scandal broke out and sounded worried.

Majeed was caught on video tape accepting 150,000 pounds in cash paid to him by the tabloid in the sting operation. The no-balls during the test turned out to be exactly as he had said they would be.

Talking to reporters here on Wednesday, Amir’s elder brother Mohammad Ijaz said the 18-year-old lad had called from London after the scandal broke out and sounded worried.

"He is innocent and a plot has been hatched against him and the country. Amir mentioned he was tense but he had nothing to do with the controversy," Ijaz stressed, adding that anybody could bowl no-balls at any time.

"I can take oath on behalf of Amir that he will never compromise on national integrity for the sake of money."

Amir’s former coach Asif Bajwa, who saw his meteoric rise from school days to the Pakistani national team, said the scandal was an attempt to tarnish the image of a young player who had been included in the best emerging player category by the International Cricket Council (ICC) recently.

"The British media has targeted the budding pace prospect of Pakistan because they want to hamper his progress," Bajwa said. "They always target Pakistani bowlers. Wasim Akram and Waqar Younis were accused of ball tempering in 1992 but nothing was proven."

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