There’s an air of repentance around Amir

Published: September 8, 2012

The writer is Sports Editor of The Express Tribune and author of the book Champions, again faras.ghani@tribune.com.pk

Mohammad Amir’s first national television appearance since his return to Pakistan brought back memories.

No, not the memories associated with bad hosts and largely irrelevant questions driving home an agenda but times when those straightened hair, now with streaks, remained ruffled, uncombed and unperturbed by worldly matters. My first sight of Amir was at the Lord’s training ground, a frail-framed boy scampering towards the assembly point for the squad, pads under one arm, bat in the other.

“Are you Amir?” I had asked, unfamiliar with the new faces the selectors had introduced for the 2009 World Twenty 20. He stopped, spikes drilled into the turf, smiled and replied, “Jee, I’m that fast-bowler.” He wanted to talk, perhaps, about himself and his bowling, maybe about why I had stopped him, since at that time, we were both strangers to each other. We didn’t get to talk any further as an angry voice demanded his presence in the huddle.

I managed a few meetings with him after that. What remained impressive every time were not his improving stats and the bulging bag of plaudits — and the sheer weight of expectations and lavished praise he easily carried on those frail shoulders — but his learning curve, an earnest evaluation of his performance and the child-like urge to soak in extolment that drove in from all over. He talked of his bowling — and I keep repeating this as I search to find a better metaphor — like a doctorate in his hands, coming off the field a different, better educated boy every time.

That live interview was no different — he seemed smarter, more mature and paced himself nicely. There was no stretching over the limits — an act that started the rot — and it seemed that the counselling he spoke of, both religious and of mending his ways, had hit home. Much needed after the gravity of the sin committed which, given the heights he had reached, had left the followers annoyed, then alarmed and finally aghast. The stench of betrayal as the allegations turned into conviction now felt like an aura of trust. The hosts, and some callers tried their best to make him falter on-air, working hard to entice him into a false shot but Amir seemed to have worked well on his defences and accuracy.

Their efforts bordered desperation, some even skirmishing with inanity but Amir was true to his words when he repeatedly said it was all about him and no one else. The unerring stance oozed steadfastness to achieve his next goal — make an international comeback — and aptly took me back to that first brief meeting when that ebullience that was sharing personal aims and celebrating success, seemed like the world to him.

Opinions may still differ, knives may still be out and the wait is still over two years (if the International Cricket Council refuses to budge). Pakistan cricket might produce another Amir — excusing blasphemy, even Wasim Akram, Waqar Younis or Shoaib Akhtar — in that time. But just like thousands tuned in to Veena Malik recently, sending her widely reported past to the darkest corners of their memories, it is hoped that Amir’s comeback, if he does return, will be greeted with memories of his trickery with the ball and not of his overly stretched leg. He needs to be forgiven and provided a helping hand, not because the country can’t produce another Amir but because this youngster — unlike politicians, policemen, milk-sellers and the thousands we come across regularly — has an honest air of repentance about him. After all, we trusted him with his honesty, integrity and conscientiousness for over a year when those hair were ruffled, uncombed and unperturbed by worldly matters.

Published in The Express Tribune, September 9th, 2012. 

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Reader Comments (22)

  • ali
    Sep 8, 2012 - 9:42PM

    We people get fooled by emotions quicky…………..Even a 10 yr old knows what is right and what is wrong these days…………………..We have enough talent we don’t need him

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  • Moazzam Salim
    Sep 8, 2012 - 9:58PM

    repent my foot…he is as adamant as he was before going to jail…thats JAIL pal…where criminals go…so stop supporting the criminals and move on….and hope that for once PCB finds an honest cricketer instead of a corrupt replica

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  • Z
    Sep 8, 2012 - 10:08PM

    @ali: Apparently you’ve never made a mistake in your life and forgiveness doesn’t exist in your vocabulary. It takes guts to come out live in front of millions of people and admit mistakes.

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  • PakPower
    Sep 8, 2012 - 10:13PM

    Whatever people might say…Aamir is one of a kind should be given a second chance. Hell, even murderers get another chance to make things right, why not a teenage fast bowler?

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  • Ch. Allah Daad
    Sep 8, 2012 - 10:47PM

    That No Ball will haunt him and Pakistan cricket forever. To save Pakistan cricket from further damage, he should be kept away forever.

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  • Stewie
    Sep 8, 2012 - 11:19PM

    @Ch. Allah Daad:
    Just like Nawaz Sharif and other PML-N workers will be haunted by the 11 Questions of Imran Khan and the money laundering scandals and what not……..hahahahahahahahaha

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  • Hafeez
    Sep 8, 2012 - 11:34PM

    Can’t agree more. Thanks for writing in favor of a young man who faltered. But there should be no place for Asif and Butt, they seem professional jawaaris.

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  • mr. righty rightist
    Sep 8, 2012 - 11:52PM

    There is an air of repentance around Amir, Pervez Musharraf, Qadri, A Q Khan, Amir Liaqat Hussain, Maya Khan…

    All the lousiest of all people, have an air of repentance.

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  • antanu
    Sep 9, 2012 - 12:35AM

    @ali:
    dont talk about WE..you want to hang aamir because he cheated…but what are you doing….with fake name and fake nationality…you are trying to vheat us all….how different you are from aamir? ..atleast he is ashamed but you…..?Recommend

  • ishtiaq_uk
    Sep 9, 2012 - 3:03AM

    After watching his recent interview, I was pleasantly surprised and impressed how Amir conducted himself. I must admit initially….I would not have been upset if he had got a life ban, but now watching him, I do believe he has regretted his action. To a some degree we have all done things at the “spur of the moment” and not realising until afterwards the consquences. Good article……food for thought at a personal level.

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  • Pakistani
    Sep 9, 2012 - 4:25AM

    Lol at the people. Like they have never made a mistake in their lives. Even the ICC has said that his slate would be wiped clean once he finishes his ban but the innocent angels on this forum here are not willing to forgive him.

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  • Syed
    Sep 9, 2012 - 6:53AM

    discuss him when is punishment term is over and if he is still good enough at that time. In the meantime write about promotion of game in the country, setting up of our own professional league with or without international stars. Even Lance Armstrong is not getting a second chance even though he never failed the test. Move On….

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  • Qasim
    Sep 9, 2012 - 12:21PM

    Real or fake (repentance) if he ever manages a comeback, his every ball and move would attract scrutiny far beyond imagination; bud achcha, budnam buraa.

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  • Sep 9, 2012 - 11:33PM

    Over dose of vocabulary. you could’ve made this point in a simpler way.

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  • haroon ali
    Sep 10, 2012 - 12:12PM

    Repentance is something that is between him and God. Such excuses are not acceptable in this world. He should be punished for what he did, full stop.

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  • Ali Asghar
    Sep 10, 2012 - 2:33PM

    IA one day we all see his comeback in the international side. He has suffered enough for what he has done in past. The real culprit is not Amir , its Salman butt. Butt is responsible for all that happened. 1 thing i like about amir is that he don’t lie. My words to amir: “Come on Amir you will surely make a comeback and the world would see you knocking the bails again…Don’t get nerves by some De-motivating comments. You were Hero and you will be Hero again IA.”

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  • Pakistanian
    Sep 10, 2012 - 2:47PM

    If Zardari, BB, And Shareef brothers can get 10 chances! so can this Kid …. based purely on relativity!

    I personally believe that all the comments from the ‘moral high ground people’ writing on ET should take a long hard look at the realistic situation in the country ……..

    And if you all have time to spare and love cricket – pls read justice qayyum’s report from an unbiased point of view and re-think how to define ‘legends’ who didnt get caught and come on TV and criticise the current day players for the lack of patriotism!

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  • Aman Malik
    Sep 10, 2012 - 4:56PM

    please let amir play cricket Recommend

  • Tariq Mehmood
    Sep 10, 2012 - 5:42PM

    Is he so indespensible for Pakistan that we dont have any other choice?
    In the world everything can be achieved but not the lost character. He did not betray by doing that folly to himself rather to the nation and brought bad name to Arze Pakistan. Lets throw such filth out we are 180 millions we can find many better charecterful Amirs in our streets.

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  • JB
    Sep 10, 2012 - 5:43PM

    At least he is better off than Butt and Asif who refuse to accept their mistakes. I can not understand why people are so hostile towards someone who made a mistake, owing to to his immaturity and lack of experience. I challenge anyone to admit that he or she has never made a mistake in their life; let alone teenage years. If that person says that he or she hasn’t; they are just fooling themselves. Amir was just 19! Surrounded by people like Butt and Asif who knew exactly what they were doing. He would not be getting a second chance due to his talent alone…its the way he has accepted his mistake. Asif was no stranger to controversy. People ended up forgiving him for the doping scandal; many blaming it on Shoaib Akhtar’s company. But turned out, Asif messed up again. He should not be forgiven. However, if Amir repeats the same thing again; he should be banned for life; no question!Recommend

  • Ihsan
    Sep 14, 2012 - 3:21PM

    Remorse can be seen there clearly, and yes he disappointed whole nation but he confessed and confessed with open heart and wet eyes, not many people I know would do that, you can see Salman Butt and Muhammad Asif as they are still in denial after being convicted by the court. Come on people he has paid his debt, boy has taken enough let him live now.

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  • Ali Asghar
    Sep 14, 2012 - 5:00PM

    I totally agree with JB and Ihsan. and Mr Tariq i must say that a lost character can be achieved and had been in past Islamic history. A good society always motivate such a person like AMIR and help to get them a new and better beginning in life. Its up to society member to choose their roles. Well i must say that i still respect AMIR and IA we will see AMIR again very soon after completion of % years ban over him . My Prayers are will you amir and soon when the time come my efforts will be with you too for your comeback.

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