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PCB optimistic about Mohammad Aamer’s early return to cricket

Mohammad Aamer
Mohammad Aamer was slapped with a five-year ban after being guilty of spot fixing charges in 2010 © Getty Images

Karachi: Jun 27, 2014

Pakistan cricket authorities said they hoped banned paceman Mohammad Aamer would return to domestic cricket before the end of his five-year ban for spot-fixing. Aamer, now 22, was issued with the worldwide ban on playing cricket after he pleaded guilty to orchestrating deliberate no-balls in the 2010 Lord’s Test against England in return for money.

In February 2011 he was banned from the sport for a minimum of five years by the International Cricket Council (ICC), together with then-Pakistan Test captain Salman Butt and pace partner Mohammad Asif. The trio were jailed in the UK in November 2011, along with their agent Mazhar Majeed. Aamer was ordered to serve six months in a rehabilitation centre but was released after three months.

Aamer is due to complete his ban in September 2015, but the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) hopes its effort to get him back early will pay off. PCB chairman Najam Sethi last year requested the ICC to relax some of the conditions of Aamer’s ban to allow him to take part in domestic matches.

That prompted the ICC to form a committee to look into the matter as it agreed to review its anti-corruption code which carries a minimum five-year ban for offenders. Tribunal chief QC Michael Beloff termed the punishment excessive when announcing Aamer’s ban in 2011. PCB said the work on ICC code has progressed well enough to raise hopes for Aamer’s return.

“The work on the drafting of the new ICC anti-corruption code has substantially progressed, with a draft clause inserted into the code permitting a banned player to be involved in domestic matches prior to the end of his ban period,” said a PCB release.

“The anti-corruption code will now be placed before the ICC board for approval soon after which the PCB will be in a position to make an application for Aamer,” it added.

At the time he was banned, Aamer was described as the “hottest property” in international cricket by former Pakistan captain Imran Khan. He became the youngest player ever to take 50 Test wickets and guided Pakistan to a 1-1 series draw against Australia when the two teams played in England in June 2010.

“The progress on ICC amendments to ICC’s anti-corruption code is very encouraging and is yet another step closer to the early entry of Aamer in cricket,” the PCB said. Aamer said he was anxiously waiting to be allowed to return. “I am thankful to the PCB for their efforts and am anxiously waiting to return to play for Pakistan,” Aamer said earlier this year.

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