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Released Amir faces uncertain future

As soon as Amir was released from prison on Wednesday, speculation started about whether his career can be reignited. — Photo by AP

KARACHI: Teenage Pakistani paceman Mohammad Amir faces an uncertain future following his release from jail this week after serving half of a six-month-sentence for his role in a spot-fixing scandal.

The 19-year-old's burgeoning career was cut short when he pleaded guilty to charges of corruption in a scandal that surfaced in August 2010 and rocked the sporting world.

Amir, once considered the hottest property in international cricket after a rapid rise from village boy to famed bowler, now knows nothing about what life has in store for him.

He emerged on the scene in 2009, regarded as a better left-arm paceman than the legendary Wasim Akram at the same age.

With 51 wickets in just 14 Tests, Amir was on the verge of getting the ICC emerging player award in 2010 — but his career and life then derailed.

The charges were related to bowling deliberate no-balls by Amir and pace partner Mohammad Asif in a Lord's Test against England, contrived with then captain Salman Butt and trio's agent Mazhar Majeed in return for big money.

The International Cricket Council (ICC) banned the trio for a minimum of five years while a UK court last year sent Amir to jail for six months, Asif for 12, Butt for 30 and Majeed for 32.

That scandal not only destroyed three top class careers but also shook the cricket world which demanded stricter penalties and measures to curb corruption, with many people feeling sympathy for the young Amir.

As soon as Amir was released from prison on Wednesday, speculation started about whether his career can be reignited.

Amir's former lawyer, Shahid Karim, believes the paceman can appeal against the ICC ban in the Switzerland based Court of Arbitration for Sports, however some experts believe his pleading guilty means he cannot.

Former Pakistan paceman Waqar Younis backed a reduction in the ban but there is no such provision in the ICC code in which the minimum penalty is a five-year-ban.

Former England captain Mike Brearley, also part of ICC's Task Team on Pakistan, showed sympathy for Amir.

“We also need to recognise that the pressure put on the young player by criminal bookies or their agents, or by their corrupt team-mates, can be appalling...some of those involved might need to be treated with compassion, especially if they admit their guilt,” Brearley said last year.

Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) legal adviser Taffazul Rizvi said Amir will have to undergo a rehabilitation programme under ICC's Anti-Corruption and Safety Unit (ACSU).

“Under the ICC anti-corruption code a convicted player undergoes an official education session to the reasonable satisfaction of ACSU programme during his period of ineligibility, in Amir's case it is five years,” Rizvi told AFP.

“Further Amir has to agree to such additional reasonable and proportionate monitoring procedures and requirements as the ACSU may reasonably consider necessary.

“PCB and ICC are on the same page in this matter and are already in contact over the official anti-corruption education session,” said Rizvi.

Amir's mentor, Asif Bajwa, remained optimistic.

“I don't think he has an uncertain future,” said Bajwa. “I will take Amir under my wing and educate him and there will be same grounds, same matches and same people who will accept Amir.

“Amir will be back.”

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Comments (37) Closed

Wamiq Ansari
Feb 04, 2012 06:46pm
The guilty players should be tried for treason let alone allowed to play again for their country. The humiliation faced by the fans is irreparable.
Feb 04, 2012 07:18pm
Lets give the poor lad a chance and not waste a telent which is Pakistani and not of someone else.Look at the social background he has come from, in fact the the team management and PCB are the main culprits.No surprise with a load of incimpetence to the tune of Mr Butt, such things are bound to happen. Wee must instil a culture of disipline and in house supervision. If such a thing is ever to happen again, I will be more than happy to see it unearthed by our own authorities and such players languishing in Pakistani jails instead of foreign land, tarnishing the image of Pakistan.
Feb 04, 2012 07:18pm
He should never ever be played for Pakistan national side. I dont think he will be worthy for his playing skills as well. Amir, Asif and Butt should be considered history. Similarly anyone else with doubht should also not get selected, people like Wahab Riaz, Kamran Akmal etc.
Feb 04, 2012 08:15pm
Feb 04, 2012 08:19pm
C'mon...give him a chance....Everyone does mistake in his life...He is just like us not a saint. I guess he already learnt lesson from his mistake.
G Sheikh
Feb 04, 2012 09:13pm
Sadly, I have to agree with Ahmed. This needs to be a lesson for everyone in future. Representing a nation is a huge responsibility and gambling with the faith of millions of fans around the world should be unforgivable. Let him play anywhere outside the national side. Pull in all the other prospects as named by Ahmed.
Aziz K
Feb 04, 2012 10:18pm
If you can't do the time, don't commit the crime. He deserved what he got.Don't waste sympathy on him.Best thing you can do for him - ask him to get haircut & go back to school.
Saad Athar
Feb 05, 2012 01:15am
I would strongly suggest that he tours with the team and be part of them if he cannot play the match he should be part of traini8ng of the playing 11 and he should let them practice at his pace - such atalent should not be wasted and after 2-3 years he should be brought back to the squad in this way he will remain fit and be part of the team and can groom out well
Feb 05, 2012 04:00am
It is a shame but he will always be labelled a cheat. I wish pakistanis can accept this because the world will always think this when they see amir this is a fact.
Feb 05, 2012 04:06am
I agree and this will show the world pakistan is sincere about cleaning the game otherwise there will always be suspicion on the national side. How can we be sure each thing happen in match is real or set up? Shame but it is the true situation that has been created by the cheaters.
hasan ansari
Feb 05, 2012 06:50am
He should not be allowed to play again for Pakistan.
Patriotism not $$$
Feb 05, 2012 09:41am
Shahid, what's wrong with you man. am surprised why people are still having sympathy for Amir. Ok, he was young and naive but that should not be an excuse. If that is the case, then we will produce alot of Amir's and all of them being young will tend to make the same mistake ' greed ' or pressure from his senior ' captain' to do spot fixing. If we discourage this act and ban them for life, no one would dare bet anymore , and let down the whole nation, What's the point of juvenile jails and punishment / rehab centers when youngsters are considered immature and do not have knowledge and sense what is right what is wrong, if we stop one Amir we will stop all of the new players becoming and emerging as Amir and later bringing nation to a disgrace, agree or not , that's what I feel
Zafar Jamal Saeed
Feb 05, 2012 02:16pm
He should never be allowed to play again for Pakistan, what will be the morale of other players when a cheater is playing with them, I strongly recommend that all the players should protest if a cheater is included in the team.He should be punished in Pakistan so that nobody in future should dare to do such kind of things, Amir has humiliated our Nation internationally, he should himself resign from the cricket.
Zafar Jamal Saeed
Feb 05, 2012 02:19pm
What will be the morale of other players when a cheater is playing with them, I strongly recommend that all the players should protest if a cheater is included in the team.He should be punished in Pakistan so that nobody in future should dare to do such kind of things, Amir has humiliated our Nation internationally, he should himself resign from the cricket.
salman shahban
Feb 05, 2012 02:39pm
Amir's greed has brought shame & disrepute to the whole nation. If at all he does manage to come back to International cricket, he will always be looked upon with suspicion no matter what. I think this kid should seriously consider another career for himself. He won't be getting any respect in cricket at least.
Mohsin Shah
Feb 05, 2012 07:38pm
Amir is good baller . he must be given chance by ICC to play from Pakistan. As all have been passing comments that he is that and so on .. first they may look their selves they do mistakes and also pray to Allah Almighty forgive us .. why Amir can not be forgotten from ICC . its my appeal to ICC please Allow M.Amir from Pakistan to play at International level!!!!! Muhammad Amir may you live long
Vaseem Siddiqi
Feb 05, 2012 09:09pm
I have mix feelings about whether Amir should be allowed to represent Pakistan again. On the one hand he brought shame to the country and not allowing him to play for Pakistan ever will send a very clear message to all current and future players of the consequence of being involved with anything illegal. On the other hand he admitted his guilt whereas Butt and Asif never did. He was also very young and immature when the crime took place. Furthermore, we do not know the degree of influence and undue pressure which was brought on him by Butt and Asif, the two senior players in the team. If it can be proven without any doubt that he was wrongly misled by his two senior team mates and he can be rehabilitated than perhaps we should give him another chance.
Feb 05, 2012 09:55pm
Hey Guys ! Relax, it seems as a topic is given to you to write as many words as you can to show your frustration against Amir, it's not a competition. Remember, the mistake happens only by a human, so kindly consider the fact and let it be. There is something already decided for him by GOD. So if he is unable to rise again, it's his fate. In case if he gets another chance to play for his country, you guys just please don't complain.
Feb 05, 2012 10:24pm
I feel really sorry for this young boy but he should not be allowed to play for my great nation pakistan ever again. i love my mother land . If it was up to me I should try these trios for treason,they should known better.
Feb 06, 2012 01:36am
Sangeen Shah
Feb 06, 2012 07:20am
I agree with the gentleman that he should be made part of the team and allowed to travel with the team to stay abreast with the game.
Mohammad N. Khan
Feb 06, 2012 09:05am
...Rehab. centres run abundant in the west and North America. They believe in human weakness and help to bring the faultering person back to society. Muslim moral/ethical standards are considered outstripping any other set of values found anywhere in human history. How much we practise, read above comments!
Feb 06, 2012 09:30am
Amir, Salman and Asif should be tried in Pakistan whenever they are back. I suggest that Kamran Akmal and Wahab Riyaz should also be banned for life to play for the national team. There should be thorough investigation about their wealth in Pakistan and abroad. All the players should be monitored with eagle eyes that no body should play with the pride of the nation in future.
Feb 06, 2012 10:13am
Being a non-Pakistani, I am happy to read all the comments so far that except a few, most of the comments are against his inclusion in the team. I FULLY AGREE. These 3 guys put down the cricket and honor of your nation to the world. Make it clean - does not matter what is/was the background or young or old. Keep sympathy in mind but not in the team. Clean the team - clean the image. That will help a lot. Pakistan has and will produce more and better player. Better to have low-profile dinner than cheated/doubted/corrupted-items. A cricket lover.
Feb 06, 2012 10:39am
One of the reasons our country is in a mess is because our hearts have hardened and we have forgotten how to forgive each other. When our beloved Prophet and his companions forgave the Meccans who used to insult and humiliate him and eventually wanted to kill him and eradicate Islam, then why cant I forgive a kid who got coaxed into making easy money. May Allah guide me to not be harsh on my muslim brother.
Zahid Hasan
Feb 06, 2012 11:11am
A typical rags to riches dreamer. He sold his Motherland for a few pennys and brought our nation to disrepute internationally. Cases of betrayal must be filed against him and his collaborators and they be punished by Pakistani courts.
Feb 06, 2012 12:57pm
Young and all, when they have paid the dues for their actions as stipulated by relevant authorities, must NOT be stigmatized and condemned for life. Amir, after he completes the ICC ban, has EVERY right to be accepted back in the society and in the game. Anything to the contrary will be miscarriage of justice and tantamount to CHEATING in itself!
Gengis Khan
Feb 06, 2012 02:18pm
"Amir is good baller . he must be given chance by ICC to play from Pakistan" But dude how can you guarantee that he will not do the same mistake again like our politician. I really think he should be removed from the Pakistani team. And also he should be tried in the Pakistani court and he should do some extra time in the Pakistani prison system.
Anwar Qureshi
Feb 06, 2012 03:00pm
First Amir should cut his hair to size to look like a gentleman; secondly, his property created out of gambled money should be confiscated; thirdly, there should no one in the Pak Cric Team with tainted character; he should continue his education and this gambler trio should not be allowed to wear Pakistan Colour and Pakistani Test Cap. PCB should hunt new chaps and forget these gamblers. Please dont quote islamic examples for these gamblers; game is a game; wrong must be punished.
Basit Ahmed
Feb 07, 2012 01:30am
He should try a different game, maybe the game of Kabbadi
Feb 07, 2012 02:48am
Cut your hair bro you look arogant and shameless in this hair style looks like he is still remorseless the guy needs proper consuling yet he must be rehabilitated an given a second chance cricket is this guys life dont expect him to become a doctor engineer but politician a big may be, trust me he would find more than he can count in that field more than he can count
Feb 07, 2012 02:53am
Cut your hair bro you look arogant and shameless in this hair style looks like he is still remorseless the guy needs proper consuling yet he must be rehabilitated an given a second chance cricket is this guys life dont expect him to become a doctor engineer but politician a Big may be for him, he wont find himself lonely there every other politician is tainted just like him
Rafique Soomar
Feb 07, 2012 04:28am
First of all I think Amir was trapped & then if a person is punished he is just clean as anybody else.I think stopping Amir is not going to solve any issues instead stop the bookees who tricks innocent players in their scam. Pcb should have stricken security by monitering closely.I think Amir should be includede.
Muhammad Ahmed
Feb 07, 2012 07:58am
Muhammad Amir proved himself a better bower than contemporaries. It goes without saying that he has done mistake but we should take a liberal and tolerant view of his case. His rural background, age,education,innocence and tactics of corrupt world of gambling to seduce such scapegoats. By and large, he has paid much more than his deeds. However, we should look the matter on humanitarian grounds and he is part of our society. His social actions are results of evils of society. Personally i think that he is entitled of another chance in the game of cricket. Regards
Zeeshan Shamsi
Feb 07, 2012 11:06am
Too bad he has been released. If some of them are kept in jail, see how well the others play. I say keep someone of them always incarcerated for a future world cup win.
Feb 07, 2012 02:39pm
i am feeling very excited on return of amir and i wish he will good for pakistan team and nation
Feb 08, 2012 11:46am
This is the plight of our people.... Politicians come , they loot , they are ousted, again elected , again loot , again go and so forth ..... Then why the same cant be done with this poor chap? Came , loot , punished ...... Back again :) This is Pakistan!!!!