Head coach says disgraced player deserves to return to sport and enhance his career.
Pakistan cricket chief and head coach Thursday hinted that Mohammad Amir will be considered for selection in the national team, following his return to cricket after a five-year ban.
Amir, 23, returned to domestic cricket in April, three months after the International Cricket Council (ICC) relaxed certain conditions of his five year ban for match fixing. Amir was tipped as one of the most talented young fast bowlers when he was jailed in 2011 after admitting bowling no balls the previous summer against England at Lord’s in exchange for cash.
His captain Salman Butt and fellow bowler Mohammad Asif were jailed for similar offences.
The International Cricket Council (ICC) lifted all sanctions on the trio in September, making them eligible for domestic and international matches. “It seems that [Amir’s] performance in the last four, five months is very good and he is knocking at the door to be considered,” Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) Chairman Shaharyar Khan told reporters. “We will tell him that your attitude should be correct because people will be looking at your behavior,” he added.
Since his return, Amir—regarded as hot property in international cricket at the time of his ban—has taken 22 wickets in the 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. He has also notched four half centuries in the two events, highlighting his potential as an all-rounder.
Pakistan’s former Twenty20 captain Mohammad Hafeez last month became the first player to publicly oppose Amir’s return, saying his inclusion will hurt Pakistan team’s image. But head coach Waqar Younis backed Amir’s return.
“We have [had] a detailed discussion and we are at the same page that if [Amir] has completed his punishment then he deserves to return to the community and enhance his profession,” Younis told media. “I think if Amir has got permission for the Bangladesh Premier League then it’s good and he has proved that he is on the right track, so it’s our duty to give him another chance.”
Amir is currently playing in the Twenty20 league in Bangladesh.