Dubai: Pakistan captain Misbah-ul Haq said on Thursday that he was saddened by the case of former paceman Mohammad Aamer, who was released from a jail in Britain this week after pleading guilty to corruption and spot-fixing.
The 19-year-old was freed from Portland Prison in England on Wednesday after serving half of his six-months sentence for his part in a plan to bowl deliberate no-balls during a Test against England at Lord's in August 2010. However, he cannot immediately return to cricket as he is serving a five-year ban from the sport imposed by the International Cricket Council (ICC).
Teammates Salman Butt, who received 32 months, and Mohammad Asif, 12 months, are still in jail after Crown Prosecution Services found them guilty last November.
Unsurprisingly Pakistan captain Misbah-ul Haq, bombarded with questions on Aamer in the pre-match press conference ahead of the third Test against England starting here from Friday, avoided direct comment.
When asked if he felt sad about what happened to a former teammate, Misbah replied: "I think it feels sad whoever suffers that, as a cricketer you feel sad about such incidents but sometimes you have noting in your control and you can't do anything."
Asked whether there would be a possibility of reducing Aamer's ban on appeal, Misbah said: "I think I am not the concerned person, the people who are concerned about that will decide about it. We are playing here and we are focusing on that. It's totally up to the management, what the ICC decides and what the cricket board decides, I think it's not my decision," said Misbah, who played alongside Aamer in all his debut matches in Tests, one-day and Twenty20.
"I think it's all up to the people, what they think, what they say about him, we have nothing to do with that, we are here to play cricket and we are focusing on that."
When asked whether he would welcome Aamer back in the team, Misbah said: "I have clearly said that we have nothing to do with that, once he is cleared, once he is available then only we will see what happens, before that I have nothing to do with that."
"You can say that it's early to say anything about that, there are many things to be done by the ICC and the management, after that nobody knows what happens."
England captain Andrew Strauss also refused to be drawn in the debate as to whether Aamer's five-year ban would be reduced.
"It's not my job to hand out bans or otherwise," said Strauss, who was England captain in the spot-fixing marred series against Pakistan.
"All I've said all along is that the deterrent for match-fixing or spot-fixing should be as strong as it possibly can be to make sure people don't do it in the future. It's up to the ICC to deal with that."