KARACHI: The Pakistan Cricket Board ( PCB) has hired sports psychologist Maqbool Babri to counsel problem players including banned pace bowler Mohammad Amir.
Amir, 19, is serving a five-year ban following the spot-fixing scandal at the 2010 Lord's Test against England. He has been ordered to attend regular anti-corruption lectures and hold sessions with a sports psychologist.
“I had a good two-hour session with Amir today and the good thing is he responded well and realises how he has damaged himself and Pakistan cricket with his actions,” Babri said on Sunday.
Babri said Amir was upbeat in the first of eight to 10 sessions.
“I am very surprised that he was very positive and relaxed during the first session with me on Saturday,” Babri said.
“I think that Amir's lawyer was a positive influence on him and has guided him well.”
Before the scandal, Amir was regarded as the hottest new international talent due to the lethal left-arm pace bowling which likened him to Pakistan former great Wasim Akram.
Babri said Amir believes he belongs in the cricketing world.
“Amir realises that cricket is his profession and he wants to return to the game as and when possible, and during the session we moved towards enlightment,” he said.
“I think he realises that he made a mistake... and since he is very passionate about his cricket I have to make him ready for that,” Babri added.
Amir has decided not to appeal his ICC ban. He was released from prison in February. Asif was freed last month and Butt is still serving his 30-month sentence.
PCB chief operating officer, Subhan Ahmed said the board had decided to hire a sports psychologist after a growing number of incidents of players going astray.
“Amir's case is a classic one. He went down the wrong path and took the wrong decisions because of his young age. We hope the players can be reformed with proper counseling,” Ahmed said.