Mohammad Amir
"Aamir could have become the best bowler in the world." -File photo

KARACHI: Pace bowler Mohammad Aamir’s five-year ban from cricket for spot-fixing is too harsh, Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chairman Zaka Ashraf has said.

“Aamir could have become the best bowler in the world. He has served his prison sentence and that matter is now closed, but the issue of the International Cricket Council (ICC) ban is obviously still ongoing,” Zaka said.

Zaka met Aamir recently, after he served three months in a young offenders’ institution in Britain, and said the fast bowler was apologetic about his involvement in the spot-fixing scandal.

Aamir, 19, was convicted, along with former captain Salman Butt and Mohammad Asif, of helping to arrange the delivery of deliberate no-balls during the 2010 Lord’s Test against England.

In a television interview this week, Aamir accused Salman and agent Mazhar Majeed of tricking him into bowling the no-balls.

“I think the five-year ban is too harsh and it is down to Aamir if he wishes to appeal against that lengthy ban imposed upon him,” the PCB chief said. “I would suggest that he does appeal against the ban and I think the relevant body should take a lenient view given his age and the talent he possesses.”

Aamir told the ICC last month that he did not intend to appeal, officials said.

Zaka said the PCB planned to provide expert help, including psychiatric treatment, to help Aamir’s rehabilitation and the player would give talks to other cricketers in Pakistan about his experiences.—Reuters

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