Best news I've got in a long time: Mohammad Amir

Tainted Pakistani pacer Mohammad Amir gets fresh lease of life after PCB chief Sethi pushes for his early return

Karachi: Banned pace bowler, Mohammad Amir is keeping his fingers crossed. Some three years back he remembers coming out of an ICC hearing in Dubai holding back tears after being told by the anti-corruption unit he was banned for a minimum of five years from playing any cricket for spot fixing.

Mohammad Amir (left), Salman Butt and Mohammad Asif (behind) are serving bans for spot fixing
Mohammad Amir (left), Salman Butt and Mohammad Asif (behind) are serving bans for spot fixing 

"I thought what have I done, my life is finished. How will I face my family or the world now," Amir recalled while talking to mid-day yesterday just hours after the Chairman of the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB), Najam Sethi announced at a press conference he was confident the youngster could be playing first class cricket later this year.

For Amir, since the end of 2010, it has been a torture to live with the tag of being a match fixer. Amir, who was 18, when the spot fixing scandal broke out while Pakistan was touring England says he has learnt his lessons... the hard way.

'A moment of weakness'
"I don't know why I agreed to do what I did because I would have earned more anyway... maybe it was a moment of weakness… maybe I was over smart... maybe Allah wanted to teach me a lesson… whatever but today I am a changed person," Amir said.

The young left-arm pacer was dubbed as the new Wasim Akram as he made rapid progress in all forms of the game before getting entangled in the spot fixing scandal.

Since the ban, the youngster says he has had no contact with his former captain, Salman Butt or Mohammad Asif who were also banned for spot fixing.

"I don't blame anyone now for what happened… I should have known better... but believe me spending those few months in jail in England three years back were not as torturous as not being able to play any cricket at all," he said.

"No one knows what I go through when I watch our team playing. Today when the PCB Chairman announced I could be back this year it was the best news I have got for a long time," he said.

But the youngster warned that a lot more needs to be done to prevent greedy bookmakers from corrupting young players. "With more and more T20 cricket being played there is lot of enticement for the players and believe me they are always people willing to corrupt you," he said.

Sethi said Amir could get a one-year reprieve in June when ICC amends its existing anti-corruption laws and clauses.

Big Three's ICC deal benefits Pakistan: Sethi

Pakistan cricket chief Najam Sethi said yesterday his country will get eight years of series, including with archrivals India, earning USD 30 million, after agreeing to the revamp of the game's governing body.

"We were left isolated in world cricket, we could have gone bankrupt but we agreed to the revamp after getting written assurances of eight years cricket with all member countries including India which will benefit us to the tune of three billion rupees," he told a press conference.

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