Dubai: The International Cricket Council Thursday gave permission for banned Pakistan paceman Mohammad Aamer to return to domestic cricket with immediate effect, relaxing his ban for spot-fixing. Aamer was one of three Pakistani players handed bans of at least five years for agreeing to arrange no-balls to order in a Test against England in 2010.
The 22-year-old's ban was due to expire on September 2, but the ICC's Anti-Corruption and Security Unit (ACSU) used discretionary powers to allow him to return to Pakistani domestic games early. "The ACSU Chairman, Sir Ronnie Flanagan, with the prior approval of the ICC Board and the PCB (Pakistan Cricket Board), has exercised his discretion to allow Aamer to return to domestic cricket played under the auspices of the PCB with immediate effect," the ICC said in a statement.
Aamer, along with captain Salman Butt and fellow new-ball partner Mohammad Asif were found guilty of orchestrating deliberate no-balls in the Lord's Test against England in August 2010. The three players and their agent Mazhar Majeed were jailed by a UK court after the now-defunct tabloid News of the World exposed them in a sting operation.
At the time of the incident Aamer was regarded as one of the hottest young bowling prospects in world cricket and there was some sympathy for him, given his young age -- he was 18 at the time. "The ACSU chairman was satisfied that Aamer had cooperated with the ACSU by fully disclosing his part in the matters that led to his disqualification, admitting his guilt, showing remorse and cooperating with the Unit's ongoing investigations and by recording messages for the ACSU education sessions," the ICC statement said.
In 2013 the PCB asked the ICC to relax certain conditions of Aamer's ban. That prompted the ICC to form a committee which recommended a change in the players' code of conduct. In November last year the ICC Board approved a provision which allows all banned players to return to domestic cricket a few months before their ban expires.