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Returning Mohammad Aamer promises to be 'better human'

Karachi: Banned Pakistan paceman Mohammad Aamer vowed Thursday to prove himself as a "better player and better human being" after his spot-fixing ban was relaxed by the cricket world governing body. The International Cricket Council (ICC) has said Aamer, 22, can return to domestic matches with immediate effect, ending his five-year suspension from all forms of the game some eight months early.

Aamer, who was banned for his part in a scandal in which he arranged no-balls to order in a 2010 Test against England, said he was overwhelmed by the ICC announcement. "It's the biggest news of my life," he told AFP by phone. "It was the most difficult phase of my life but I am sure it's over now and I am keen to return to international grounds." Aamer was banned along with his captain Salman Butt and new ball partner Mohammad Asif.

Cricket, and Pakistani cricket in particular, has struggled with the scourge of corruption in recent years and there has been some disquiet about Aamer's return to the game. Some former professionals have said he should not be allowed back into international cricket, while Pakistan Cricket Board Chairman Shaharyar Khan last year revealed some current players were against Aamer's return and did not want to share a dressing room with him.

Aamer, however, vowed to win over the naysayers with his bowling -- and promised to behave from now on. "If anyone has any problems with my return I am sure he will change his views with my character and good performances," said Aamer. "My job is to play and do well and I am sure that I will return to international cricket as a better player and better human being and that's my aim."

The decision to relax his ban came after two years of efforts by the PCB. The ICC last year approved a provision in its players' code of conduct under which all banned players who complete their rehabilitation will be allowed to play domestic cricket a few months before their bans expire. Aamer said he never thought of giving up cricket. "Cricket is my life and I never thought of leaving it," he said. "I have not forgotten how to bowl but now my focus on cricket will be more than before as I have to prove myself again."

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