The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has thrown its weight behind Mohammad Amir amid calls for the embattled pacer to be excluded from the national setup ahead of next year's World Twenty20 in India.
In a press release on Wednesday, the PCB called upon all the cricketers and commentators who are opposing Amir’s return to the Pakistan side, to soften their stance as the tainted bowler deserved a 'second chance.'
The detail with which the PCB pleaded Amir's case in the eight-point press release indicated the significance the board attaches to the 23-year-old's potential inclusion in Pakistan's World T20 squad.
“There are a few players and commentators who are opposed to his selection. We are reminding them that even Islam calls for forgiveness in such cases,” the PCB said.
The press release mentioned past examples of sportsmen who were punished, faced bans and then came back into their respective fields.
“In the past, spot-fixers and drugs cheats have been permitted re-entry in to the international arena after serving their sentence. They include Marlon Samuels, Herschelle Gibbs (Cricket), Tyson Gay (Athletics),” said the statement.
Amir faced a five-year isolation from all forms of cricket after being declared guilty of involvement in the infamous spot-fixing scandal that hit Pakistan cricket during the national side’s tour to England in 2010.
According to the PCB, Amir was not 'wise' enough to realise his mistake when he committed the offence.
“Amir was 19 years old when he was indicted. He came from a rural underprivileged background,” said the press release.
The PCB stated that Amir went through a comprehensive and just process of punishment and fully cooperated with the British authorities after accepting his crime whole-heartedly unlike his other two teammates Salman Butt and Mohammad Asif, who have found little favour with the cricket fraternity since their ban ended this year as well.
“From the first day, Amir has admitted his guilt and has sought forgiveness from his country, his fans and from Pakistanis. He has cooperated with ICC Anti-Corruption Unit and with British Police investigators,”
The Gujjar Khan-born fast bowler was also treated leniently by the British justice system and eventually the International Cricket Council (ICC) too.
“Both ICC and the British justice system were lenient towards Amir because of his remorse and cooperative conduct.
“As a result his jail sentence was reduced by six months. In contrast, the other accused, Salman Butt and Mohammad Asif insisted on their innocence until they were sentenced by a British Court and served their full jail term,” said the PCB statement.
The PCB put light on Amir’s performances since his comeback.
The left-armer has taken 22 wickets in the domestic Grade II tournament before capturing an impressive 34 in the four qualifying matches of the Quaid-e-Azam trophy.
He then grabbed 17 wickets in Pakistan's premier first-class tournament, the Quaid-e-Azam trophy.
Amir also went through psychology sessions and gave lectures to his juniors against corruption.
The PCB also mentioned Amir’s meeting with the board chief Shaharyar Khan.
“Chairman PCB recently called in Amir and told him that he needs to show modesty and discipline in his conduct as he would constantly be seen under a microscope.”
“Amir agreed to behaving with contrition and respect and act as a role model for youngsters.”
Amir has been picked up by Pakistan Super League side Karachi Kings for the upcoming T20 league event.
The fast-bowler has also been participating in the on-going Pakistan camp set up for the tour to New Zealand which kicks off on January 15 and is expected to included in the squad for the series.