KARACHI: After officially being given the green signal by the International Cricket Council (ICC) to play domestic cricket, Muhammad Amir is keen to win back critics and fans alike with his performance.
The 22-year-old admitted there is pressure on him to make a comeback and show people that he has learnt from his mistakes. “It’s like my second life and I want to make the most of it by winning over people with my performance in domestic cricket,” Amir said after the decision. “People will forget things when I start performing and the pressure will ease up on me.”
However, the left-armer knows he is not going to be match fit straight away. “I need a month-and-a-half to get back to full fitness because I had been playing in unregistered matches to keep my body in shape. I need to look at things in a positive manner now because there have always been critics around. All I can do is focus on my comeback.”
The left-arm pacer said that he is in talks with a few teams about resuming domestic cricket but cannot disclose the details.
Amir added he is not thinking about his international return yet and wants to go one step at a time.
Earlier, the ICC confirmed that Anti-Corruption and Security Unit (ACSU) Chairman Sir Ronnie Flanagan, with the prior approval of the ICC Board and the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB), has exercised his discretion to allow Muhammad Amir to return to domestic cricket played under the auspices of the Pakistan Cricket Board with immediate effect.
Amir’s five-year ban is scheduled to expire on September 2. The ACSU Chairman had exercised the powers vested in him under Article 6.8 of the ICC Anti-Corruption Code after he was satisfied that Amir had cooperated with the ACSU by fully disclosing his part in the matters that led to his disqualification, admitting his guilt, showing remorse and cooperating with the unit’s ongoing investigations and by recording messages for the ACSU education sessions.
It is Amir’s right to play domestic cricket: Latif
Former skipper Rashid Latif, who once blew the whistle on match-fixing, said that cricket is Amir’s way of earning and thus the player should be allowed to play domestic cricket. However, he believes that a problem will arise once he makes his international return.
“If the ICC has given permission then there is no issue on Amir playing domestic cricket so that he can earn a living,” Latif told The Express Tribune. “But for me a problem arises if he makes it to international cricket.”
Latif said that Amir’s return to international cricket may cause people to question the authorities’ stance on match-fixing. “If Amir comes back to play for Pakistan then both the PCB and the ICC should take out the phrase of ‘zero tolerance policy’ from their anti-corruption lectures,” he said.
Yousuf urges people to welcome Amir with open heart
Former batting great Muhammad Yousuf stressed that Amir has apologised and completed his punishment as well so people should welcome him back.
“Not many people have got the ability and the talent that Amir possesses, so he should be welcomed because he has served his punishment,” said Yousuf. “I’ve seen him and have played with him and it is very rare to find a top bowler like him.”
However, Yousuf added that the PCB must send out a stern message that such actions will not be tolerated.
Like Sports on Facebook, follow @ETribuneSports on Twitter to stay informed and join in the conversation.
Comments are moderated and generally will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive.
For more information, please see our Comments FAQ