Ramiz Raja questions Pakistan support for sullied Amir

Published: November 19, 2014
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A file photo of Mohammad Amir. PHOTO: AFP

A file photo of Mohammad Amir. PHOTO: AFP

KARACHI: With efforts being increased to bring back Mohammad Amir into domestic cricket first and then into international cricket come 2015, former Test cricketer Ramiz Raja has spoken out and lamented that a man who cheated with cricket should not be allowed to play for Pakistan again.

The International Cricket Council (ICC) has made changes to its anti-corruption laws after strong lobbying from the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) to get reprieve for Amir so that he can play domestic cricket much before his ban ends in September 2015.

Amir’s fate is expected to be sealed in important ICC meetings in January, but Raja is not convinced and impressed it.

The fast-bowler was banned along with skipper Salman Butt and Mohammad Asif for ‘spot-fixing’ during Pakistan’s tour of England in 2010, and later served in the young offenders institute for three months from November 2011 to January 2012.

“Why is the world so keen to see Mohammad 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. I have,” Raja expressed in his column for Cricinfo.

“It is the most awful and sickening feeling. When a bunch of rogues you share the dressing room with are fighting tooth and nail to lose a match, it kills your desire to play the game, and whips up a desire to kill them.”

Raja further added that after the embarrassing episode, it took several years for Pakistan to regain pride, trust and to improve the image of the country.

“Someone needs to ask players if they want Amir back at all. After years of perseverance, Misbahul Haq and his men have been able to salvage cricket and its image. Should they be exposed to a virus now?,” he questioned.

The former Test cricketer added that he is in favour of rehabilitation and finding ways to help a young man get back on track in his life, but said he cannot be allowed to play the game that he sullied and brought disrepute to.

Raja, who played 57 Tests and 158 one-day internationals, refused to buy the argument that Amir was naive, according to AFP.

“The argument put across in Amir’s favour is that his talent was compromised at a young age due to poor judgement and his naivete, and because he comes from a poor family.”

“If that is the case, there are millions of other Pakistani youth who have had a tough start in life, and less than ideal upbringings.”

“Does that give them a licence to use underhanded means and cheat to make a living? In fact, to quote an incident, I was approached to find out why Amir had turned down a more-than-decent offer made to him by an English county just a day before he was caught,” said Raja.

“During my conversation with him regarding the offer, I realised that because the offer was a few thousand pounds short of what he expected, he was willing to let go of an opportunity to play and establish himself at a renowned and historic county. I came to the conclusion that he was not, after all, so gullible and naive about money matters.”

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Reader Comments (23)

  • US CENTCOM
    Nov 19, 2014 - 6:33PM

    I have mixed feelings about Amir’s return as well. A part of me wants to give him the benefit of the doubt but the other part of me wants him to serve him as an example to those who may ever think about cheating the game. At the same time, some of the other players who were suspected of cheating as well, but did not get caught, did make it back to the team. Therefore, maybe he should get another chance too.

    Ali Khan
    Digital Engagement Team, USCENTCOM

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  • Umar Buttar
    Nov 19, 2014 - 6:43PM

    ICC wasted his 5 years and Ramiz Raja is keen to waste his Life. Why didn’t he highlight his desire before, at least Amir could have planned to do something else. so why now? Anyway, Everyone should get and have a right to get a second chance and so Mohammad Amir too.

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  • just_someone
    Nov 19, 2014 - 7:00PM

    well said…
    everyone has a soft spot for amir because he was a kid.
    but what he did was wrong and he knew what he was doing. he accepted it as ‘the thing everyone does’ rather than standing up to it…

    our team has been doing well and has remained out of controversy for match fixing. lets not invite it back through amir or anyone else.

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  • Hassan
    Nov 19, 2014 - 7:02PM

    Ramiz is right to a certain extent but Amir deserves a chance because a) he is the only cheater in Pakistan cricket who has publicly apologized for wrongdoing, b) he has been jailed for it, c) he has been banned for 5 years, d) with his background and age, it was equally PCB’s fault which neither provided anti corruption awareness to the young teenager and nor did it take any security measures to let such things happen on tour after the kind of past cases which have tarnished our image in previous decades, and e) he has taken part in pcb rehabilitation program and publicly vowed to be a role model for youngsters by coming out clean and making a string comeback.

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  • Freakonomist
    Nov 19, 2014 - 7:14PM

    There should not be any reason to dispute Rameez Raja. We don’t need Amir, at all.

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  • Mirza
    Nov 19, 2014 - 7:30PM

    Of course Amir would not accept an offer from the county as it would be a proper way to make money and gain fame. He and other players wanted quick bucks without any efforts. A county season is long and full of hard work, why bother when they were making a lot of money quickly?
    Raja is right. Those making a mercy case for these cricketers are naïve. None of these cricketers is starving or poor. If one is hungry, sick and penniless only then they deserve sympathy not after making huge monies and getting caught. They can be allowed to make money indirectly and through jobs like regular Pakistanis but not included in national team.

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  • Samir
    Nov 19, 2014 - 7:35PM

    Well said Ramiz. In time like these, we need to set strong examples. Ban him for life. Hard work and character is more important than talent. We will find more bowlers like him.. we have a history of producing better and there is no reason why we will not have more.

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  • Dr. Abid Shah Mashwani
    Nov 19, 2014 - 7:41PM

    This is the difference between an educated professiona cricketer versus uneducated super stars. One can see values and credibility when you look at educated cricketers especially from subcontinent for example Rameez, Imran, Saeed Anwar. No doubt one must get a second chance but it is also important to set good examples for future generations. Yes Pakistan can live without Amir but I am sure Amir can’t live the life he was living when he was representing Pakistan. But we must not forget he was only 18 years old, so exposing him to criminals like Salman Butt, Asif and who knows how many more, should be considered the crime committed by team management. So in this case, I may offer second chance to Amir but will make an example of team management on the tour. And if Pakistan cricket doesn’t have set of principles for guiding and making team management responsible for not protecting youngsters then top management should be punsihed. Yes they should be literally punished with unbailable jail term.

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  • Waseem
    Nov 19, 2014 - 8:01PM

    So a person should never be given a second chance even if he/she has served the time in jail or by anyother way.? I mean seriously? the guy was 17 years old come on he did not know better and made a mistake. Now if you say same for Asif I will say Raja is right because Asif had previous records, but this guy made a mistake for the first time and you will ban him for life. Seems like Ramiz Raja never made a mistake even when he is doing a commentary (like laughing at inzimam on the stage) I think he should have been kicked out from his work for life for making fun of a person representing a country. That also brought the image of commentators and the country down.
    So I say Amir should be given a chance. If he does it again or anything close to it or is in contact with bookies, Kick him out right away 0 tolerance policy.

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  • MJ
    Nov 19, 2014 - 9:28PM

    No one is disputing that what Amir did was not wrong. He got his punishment by being kept out of the game for five years. A point to note that his offense was “spot-fixing” not “match-fixing”. There are many other superstars not only in Pakistani team but also other international teams who were dealt with lesser sentences when they were caught involved in match-fixing, which I believe is a bigger crime. Some of them are still playing for their respective teams.
    Again I am not defending what Amir did but the standards should be equally high and applied to all players who are found of any kind of fixing.

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  • Abdul Piracha
    Nov 19, 2014 - 10:11PM

    I totally agree with Rameez Raja, Kamran Akmal, Mohammad Amir, Mohammad Asif and sulman Butt should not be allowed to pollute cricket again.

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  • salman
    Nov 19, 2014 - 10:13PM

    He has served his subscribed punishment, faced all the embarrassment and vowed not to repeat the same mistake so why he shouldn’t be allowed to play again ? Ramiz, no thanks, you are entitled to your own opinion but most of the Pakistanis now want him play again.

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  • blacksheep
    Nov 19, 2014 - 10:14PM

    Ramiz Raja is a nobody & makes pathetic statements on a regular basis! Amir & Asif bot deserve another chance as they are incredible talents and as Humans we all make mistakes & learn..

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  • Azfar
    Nov 19, 2014 - 10:15PM

    I think let him play at domestic cricket only monetary support, but international cricket should be banned for him.

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  • Nov 19, 2014 - 10:23PM

    Well, one thing seems sure..Aamir has talent and Ramiz Raja has a history of defaming every cricketer with his pathetic criticism..its a fact that Aamir was on peak of his career when he was escorted in case of fixing..yet we cannot deny the fact that at an age of 17, it’s hard to comprehend situations..all people commenting here against Aamir, were they perfect teenagers? People fall in many wrong choices when they are young..we can forgive our leaders who do corruption of millions…but if a man who is poor, does something wrong, we go rawraw over it..Is law only for weak? ICC wants a ban on talented bowlers of country…Ramiz is an agent of the ICC agenda..simple fact not understood by our idiot nation…

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  • Baja
    Nov 19, 2014 - 11:02PM

    @US CENTCOM:
    What about all the people you assasinate with drones? No trial, no evidence presented, no arguments made, nothing. Just blow them up to bits. All the proof you need to execute them is that they are male and live in a particular area. You have no right to talk about justice or second chances.

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  • irfan Mazhar
    Nov 20, 2014 - 12:13AM

    I think he should be given another chance to play for his country n actually the world is terrified from the pacers produce from Pakistan soul , and plz ramiz go India and live your life and raise that question there that dhoni n company should not be allowed to play cricket as they are also involved in bigger issue that match fixing n plz raja ramiz hassan sahib if you really want to do some thing for Pakistan come to Pakistan live here n spend n work with young boys in club cricket so that good tallent can be sellected at high level.
    Com ‘on M Aamir this country needs you.

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  • Nov 20, 2014 - 11:14AM

    For once Ramiz is right. Its like saying the murderer wasnt mature enough when he committed that crime. This guy humiliated the nation. Should never be considered for the national team.

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  • Shabir
    Nov 20, 2014 - 4:37PM

    Finally someone spoke out. I am with Rameez on this. Aamir was not playing club cricket when he was caught, he was a part of national team and he betrayed the nation. He should not be allowed to return back.

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  • Zaida
    Nov 21, 2014 - 8:19AM

    What about his fancy house bought from ill-gotten wealth? What will the other newcomers feel when they see his fancy car and home? They will be left with the feeling that crime really pays.

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  • Kamran
    Nov 21, 2014 - 9:28AM

    Amir should get a second chance to live an honest life and that can only be achieved by staying out of cricket.He did commit a crime which should not be forgotten after five years but should remain in his records so that no body else attempts it again.For him rehabilitation should mean follow examples of Salim Malik, Hanse Cronje, Mohammd Azhar uddin so cricket lovers have a clean sports to watch.

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  • Careful reader
    Nov 21, 2014 - 9:59AM

    Rameez is just trying to please his indian employers. Sad

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  • Murthy
    Nov 21, 2014 - 8:38PM

    There was an Indian cricketer involved in match-fixing and, later on, after a reprieve, has taken to participating in panel discussion during cricket matches involving the Indian team. The moment the fellow appears on the screen I change the channel or switch the tv off. I can never stand the sight of a fellow who has betrayed his team and his countrymen. I think the same should be applicable to any player of any country.

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