‘Amir could return to cricket next month’

Mohammad Amir. - AFP/File

KARACHI: Pakistan paceman Mohammad Amir could return to first-class cricket as early as next month after a relaxation of the conditions of his ban for spot-fixing, an official said on Friday.

Amir, 22, was banned for five years along with then-captain Salman Butt and fellow paceman Mohammad Asif in a spot-fixing case in England in 2010, and the trio were jailed by a UK court in 2011.

The paceman was interviewed in Lahore on Friday by the International Cricket Cou­ncil (ICC) after the governing body revised the players’ code of conduct in November last year, adding a provision that allows a banned player to play in domestic games a certain period prior to the end of the ban.

The change of rules prompted the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) to file an appeal with the ICC to relax certain conditions of Amir’s ban last year.

A final decision on Amir`s appeal will be taken in ICC Board meeting in Dubai next week.

A PCB spokesman confirmed Amir’s potential return.

“It is most likely that Amir will get reprieve to play domestic cricket,” said the spokesman Agha Akber.

PCB chairman Shaharyar Khan last week said Amir will be monitored in first-class cricket before returning to international cricket. His five-year ban expires in August this year.

The PCB has said that since the other two banned players -- Salman and Asif -- took time to plead guilty and have not completed a mandatory rehabilitation, their cases will not be taken up with the ICC.

Before the ban Amir was described as cricket’s “hottest property” by legendary Pakistan pace-man Imran Khan.

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