Karachi: Spot-fixing-tainted pacer Mohammad Aamir is eligible for national team selection though it's upto the selectors to pick him or not, the Pakistan Cricket Board said yesterday.
The PCB today issued a press statement in which it apparently tried to pave the way for an expected return to the national side for left-arm pacer Aamir. "After serving his six month probation, Amir has been participating in domestic first class cricket with success. He has also performed well in BPL. Accordingly, Amir has been called to fitness camp which will enable him to bond with national players. His selection for national team, for which he is eligible, would depend on the selectors," the statement said.
The PCB said that Aamir, after serving his sentence for spot fixing, has passed through a gradual process of rehabilitation and re-education. It said what was relevant in Aamir's case was that from the first day, he 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.
It noted that Aamir was 19 years old when he was indicted and he came from a rural underprivileged background and that both ICC and the British justice system were lenient towards Aamir 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 Muhammad Asif insisted on their innocence until they were sentenced by a British Court and served their full jail term," the statement noted.
It also said that PCB Chairman Shaharyar Khan recently called in Aamir and told him that he needs to show modesty and discipline in his conduct as he would constantly be under a microscope and he had agreed to behave with contrition and respect and act as a role model for youngsters.
At the same time, the PCB admitted that there were a few players and commentators who are opposed to Aamir's selection. "We are reminding them that even Islam calls for forgiveness in such cases," the PCB statement said. The debate over whether Aamir, Butt and Asif should be given another chance to play for Pakistan after serving time for spot fixing has divided the Pakistan cricket community.
While some former players and critics believe that since the trio has served punishments they deserve a second chance, others believe that the three betrayed the country and the national team and should be banned for life. Aamir is the only one among the three who is presently very close to a national recall and was included in the national conditioning camp in Lahore for the tour to New Zealand in January. Butt and Asif have been told by the Board they can resume playing domestic cricket in January.