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PCB chief wants Amir back after ban

AFP
Feb 04, 2012 at 10:49am IST

Dubai: Pakistan cricket chief Zaka Ashraf on Friday backed the return of spot-fixing convict Mohammad Amir after he serves his five-year ban, saying he was a talented fast bowler who had been "trapped".

"I want to see Amir back but only after considering the legality of the case and only after he serves the ban," Pakistan Cricket Board chairman Zaka Ashraf told reporters.

Amir, 19, was released from a British prison on Wednesday after serving half of his six-month sentence for his part in the scandal during the Lord's Test between Pakistan and England in August 2010.

PCB chief wants Amir back after serving ban

Zaka Ashraf said Amir was a talented fast bowler who had been "trapped".

His teammates Salman Butt and Mohammad Asif are still in jail serving 30-month and 12-month sentences respectively handed down by a British court in November last year.

All three were found guilty of corruption and receiving illegal money. The International Cricket Council (ICC) also banned the trio for violating the players' code of conduct, with Amir receiving the minimum five-year punishment.

Ashraf, who took over in October last year, said the PCB will rehabilitate the youngster.

"Definitely we will rehabilitate Amir through an education programme, he is a young Pakistani, he committed a mistake and it was a case of huge talent lost and once he serves the ban then he could come into the team," said Ashraf.

Ashraf claimed Amir and the other two players had been "trapped".

"Whatever has happened we are sad about that, not only me but also most of the Pakistani people are sad for this young boy who, with the other players, were trapped by the Majeed brothers," said Ashraf of players's agent Mazhar Majeed and his brother Azhar.

Meanwhile, former Pakistan paceman and coach Waqar Younis has called for a reduction of the five-year cricket ban meted out to Amir.

Waqar, coach of the team at the time of the scandal, said ways to cut Amir's ban should be considered given his age, talent and admission of guilt.

"I am not saying that he is an angel," Waqar told reporters. "But if the ban reduction can be considered then they should do that, every law gives margin after someone completes his punishment."

Family members said Amir will appeal the ICC ban in the Switzerland-based Court for Arbitration for Sports but experts believe he is unlikely to be successful after pleading guilty before the UK court.

Waqar said Amir should undergo rehabilitation. "We must have sympathy with him because he is so young. His talent is missed by not only by me but also by the Pakistan team," he said.

"I don't know whether he would be able to play or not, whether the people of Pakistan will accept him or not... we accept that the incident happened and Pakistan's name was tainted but I think other players will also learn from this," said Waqar.

The former fast-bowler advised the talented youngster to maintain his "hunger" for the game while he awaits a verdict on his ban.

"Imran Khan said that he was better than Wasim Akram when he was 19," said Waqar, referring to his former new-ball partner Wasim. "There was something special in him. He was very hungry for wickets and lethal."

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