London: Banned Pakistan cricketer Mohammad Amir has appeared in an official video from the Anti-Corruption and Security Unit (ACSU) of the International Cricket Council (ICC) warning players of the dangers of corruption. The five minute video has been posted on the official ICC website.
Highly-rated 19-year-old left-arm paceman Amir was released from a UK jail in February after serving half of a six-month sentence for his part in the spot-fixing scandal during the Lord’s Test between England and Pakistan in 2010. His former team-mates Salman Butt and Mohammad Asif are serving sentences of 30 and 12 months respectively, handed down by a British court in November, after the trio was found guilty of corruption and receiving illegal money.
The ICC also banned all three players, with Amir receiving the minimum five-year punishment after he was found guilty of deliberately bowling no-balls as part of a plan orchestrated by Butt and agent Mazhar Majeed, also now serving a jail sentence. Last month Amir gave a broadcast interview in Urdu to ex-England captain Michael Atherton where he said former Pakistan skipper Butt had betrayed their friendship by luring him into the scandal.
However, in the ACSU video Amir, speaking in clear English, made no specific references to other cricketers but instead issued a general warning. “Prison is a bad place for everyone,” he said. “Don't make the mistakes which I did. I was stupid I didn’t tell anybody because I didn’t have coverage...If someone comes to you go straight to team management and ICC team.”
Amir said his “life had been ruined” in a couple of hours as a result of being put under pressure by senior players to deliberately bowl no-balls at Lord’s although he accepted his mistake. “I always knew this was cheating at cricket but I was under pressure but I accept my mistake,” he added. “When I was in ICC hearing, I knew I was totally embarrassed. I wanted to tell the truth but I didn’t have courage...When the police put me in handcuffs I was literally crying.”
There is no suggestion Amir's participation in the ACSU video will lead to a reduction of his ban, which was imposed by an independent disciplinary tribunal. But it can be seen as part of the “rehabilitation” that outgoing ICC chief executive Haroon Lorgat has said the bowler should undertake while banned. “I would prefer that the starting point should not be about whether we (ICC) could reduce the sentence,” Lorgat said last month.
“If Mohammad Amir stands up and delivers a message of caution about this murky world, people are going to sit up and listen,” the South African added. “That is one example of rehabilitation.”