Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo
Former Pakistan captain Ramiz Raja has questioned why everybody is “so keen” to see left-arm pace bowler Mohammad Amir back in action.
Amir, Salman Butt and Mohammad Asif were all banned for five years after being indicted in a spot-fixing scandal during a Test match against England at Lord’s in 2010.
With Amir’s ban set to be lifted in August 2015, the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) have written to the International Cricket Council (ICC) to allow him to start playing domestic cricket as soon as possible. This is because the ICC recently made changes to their anti-corruption code, which includes allowing banned players to play domestic cricket a short while before their ban is over.
However, Raja believes that people are overlooking the fact that Amir left a permanent stain on Pakistan cricket’s reputation.
“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,” Raja wrote in his column for ESPNcricinfo. “I have. 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 also holds Amir responsible for the fact that it took years for Pakistan to regain their pride and integrity.
“Someone needs to ask the players if they want Amir back at all,” he wrote. “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?”
According to a report published by AFP, Raja also refuses to believe that Amir was naive and did not know what he was doing during the spot-fixing scandal.
“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,” Raja said. “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.
“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.”