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Zaka wants Amir back after serving ban

February 03, 2012

-File photo

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 (PCB) chairman Zaka Ashraf told reporters here.

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.

His team-mates 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.

Zaka, 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,” added Zaka.

Zaka 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 Zaka of players’ agent Mazhar Majeed and his brother Azhar.

Meanwhile, PCB legal adviser Tafazzul Rizvi said Amir’s rehabilitation programme would begin soon.

“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,” Tafazzul stated.

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

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