PCB to put Amir under six-month assessment process

Mohammad Aamer (L) and Mohammad Asif. — AFP/File

Following rumours that Pakistani team players did not want to play with the tainted Mohammad Amir, the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) decided to put him under a six-month assessment process before his comeback to the field.

Amir was banned along with former Pakistan captain Salman Butt and strike bowler Mohammad Asif for deliberately indulging in spot fixing in summer 2010.

PCB says the left-arm fast bowler will be monitored ‘very closely’ and that feedback of other players in the national team and domestic circuit would also be taken into account.

Speaking to Press Trust of India on Sunday, PCB chief Shaharyar Khan said, “Obviously he has committed a crime and let the country down and we have to ensure other players are comfortable playing against him and with him before we take any decision.

“We also want to be completely satisfied that he will not repeat his mistakes again if he gets a chance to play for Pakistan. So until now it is not an open or shut case for Amir,” he added.

Read: Amir to benefit from revised ICC anti-corruption code

According to a report published on NDTV, Khan said that no member of the Pakistan team had raised any concerns with the board over allowing Amir to make a comeback.

“We have to be 100 per cent sure that he does not bring Pakistan cricket into disrepute again,” he said. Amir's ban is scheduled to end in September this year.

However, the PCB chief was not sure about the future of Salman Butt and Mohammad Asif, saying that “no progress had been made in their cases as until now they had not been cooperating as much as was expected of them”.

Interestingly, the matter of bringing Amir back to the international circuit was going smoothly until Ramiz Raja wrote a column for Cricinfo.

Raja came hard on PCB and questioned as to why Amir's return was fast-tracked.

Read: Amir's return will expose Pakistan to 'virus' once again, says Raja

“Why is the world so keen to see Amir back? The managers of the game who for whatever reason are trying to fast-track him into the very system that he had wronged have obviously not experienced the pangs of betrayal and cheating that fixing causes,” he had written in the column.

Raja said current players needed to be asked if they wanted to play alongside Amir.

“Someone needs to ask the Pakistan players if they at all want Amir back. After years of perseverance, Misbah-ul-Haq and his men have been able to salvage Pakistan cricket and its image,” he added.

Raja revealed his experience of how fixing can damage the game during the 1990s with a scandal which ultimately led to a life ban on then-captain Salim Malik and fines on six leading players — including former captains Wasim Akram and current Pakistan coach Waqar Younis in 2000.

It was after Raja’s criticism of the board to bring back Amir that the matter really caught fire.

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