With the start of the ICC World Cup 2015 just around the corner, tensions seem to be at an all-time high! Pakistani skipper Misbah-ul-Haq gave a frosty reception to Mohammad Amir after the ICC cleared the tainted bowler to play domestic matches before the end of his ban.
The game has seen nothing quite like it before — a player returning from a long ban for spot-fixing at an age where he can still hope to have a long international career. Amir, a fast bowler, will be a month short of his 23rd birthday when he is scheduled to return to organized cricket with the Omar Associates team in Karachi, Pakistan.
Sir Ronnie Flanagan, Head of ICC’s anti-corruption unit said Amir had shown “true remorse” and participated in all the body’s anti-corruption programs. “I interviewed him on several occasions. I am certainly very satisfied that he met all those conditions,” Flanagan said. “He had fully admitted his part, he had told us what he knew and he was very cooperative in assisting us with the education program.”
“There’s an incentive to players that if you have messed up, there’s a way back,” Dave Richardson, former South African player and Chief Executive of the ICC told Reuters. “Don’t forget that Amir will have been out of international cricket for five years. That’s more than half a career.”
But the Pakistan captain was far less forthcoming with the soiled young paceman. Misbah took over the reins for the Pakistan side in the aftermath of the scandal involving Amir, Salman Butt and Mohammad Asif, after the trio was banned by the ICC following a sting by British newspaper News of the World.
Reflecting on Amir’s reprieve the veteran skipper said that it was about the ICC and Pakistan Cricket Board, and not him, adding that they were the ones who decide.
Many have sympathized with the decision to allow Amir back into the sport given he was a teenager at the time, but it appears Misbah didn’t feel the same.
When asked if Amir’s return was good news for Pakistan and if he believed people were entitled to a second chance, Misbah remained tight-lipped. “It’s a kind of thing I don’t really want to talk about,” he said. “It’s a subject I don’t want to touch, let’s see how it goes.”