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Former England batsman Kevin Pietersen believes that Pakistan left-arm seamer Mohammad Amir should not be allowed to play international cricket again and should have been banned for life for being involved in the spot-fixing scandal that shocked the cricketing community in 2010.
Pietersen played in the 2010 Test match at Lord’s where the spot-fixing incident occurred and he has become the first England player involved in that match to openly state that anyone involved in spot or match-fixing should be handed a life ban.
Pietersen made these comments in Kevin Pietersen on Cricket, a follow-up to his highly controversial autobiography, which played a part in his axing from the England team.
“I know Mohammad Amir was only 18 when he got into trouble, and that he was a special talent,” Pietersen wrote. “I also know that he and Mohammad Asif were from poor backgrounds and were offered a hell of a lot of money for a few seconds’ work.
“But I don’t care; they should not be coming back. I don’t feel badly towards them and I wish them well in their lives, but the game is bigger than us, the game will be around a lot longer than us, and we don’t have the right to steal from it.
“We play fairly, we play tough, we play positively, we play negatively, people play the way that they want to play. But there’s no place in the game for corruption, and if you get caught you have to be given a life ban.”
Amir had taken the cricketing world by storm with his superb left-arm pace bowling before his career came crashing down when he was indicted in the spot-fixing scandal after he deliberately bowled two massive no-balls.
Amir was subsequently found guilty and was served three months in a young offender institution in England. He was also banned for five years by the International Cricket Council (ICC), which expired in September.
“When the spot-fixing story broke… that day was the worst I’ve experienced in cricket,” Pietersen wrote. “The guys didn’t even want to bowl to them, we didn’t celebrate the wickets that we took; everything about it was horrendous. We just felt so much anger towards them. We could not believe what they’d done.
“Match-fixing, spot-fixing – I’m fierce about anything like that. If you’re caught you should never play again, because we have an amazing game. There are so many honest blokes out there, trying their hardest and committing to everything to make a living, and if you’re cheating then sorry, I’m afraid that’s got to be it.”
Pietersen revealed that his firm stance towards match-fixing and spot-fixing came about when he was playing for Natal in a one-day warm-up against South Africa, during which South Africa’s captain Hansie Cronje ran off the field to receive a message.
The very next day, the press had caught wind of the match-fixing allegations against Cronje and his career and reputation was in tatters.
“I’m not a person who has lived a perfect life,” Pietersen said. “I don’t think that anybody has the right to judge anybody: if you make mistakes, you make mistakes. We all do, because nobody’s perfect and I was raised to recognise that. He obviously just loved money and got into the wrong scenario. So once he’d apologised and been punished, I was proud of how the country forgave him and happy that he could stay a hero. But that doesn’t mean I disagreed with his life ban.”