image_20130703112611

Mohammad Aamer’s return to the Pakistan team will be a boost if he is still as good as he used to be in 2010 © Getty Images

Dr Amyn Malik

At last some good news for Pakistan has come out of an International Cricket Council (ICC) meeting. Interim Chairman Najam Sethi has requested the ICC at their annual meeting in London to consider relaxing conditions of Mohammad Aamer’s ban. The fast bowler is serving a five-year ban for his involvement in spot-fixing. Though, Aamer will not be allowed to play any matches, he may be able to train and prepare himself for international cricket for when an opportunity arises.

The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) made this plea to the ICC because Aamer complied with all of ICC’s conditions of the ban and underwent the educational and rehabilitation program as stipulated. This is the reason Salman Butt and Mohammad Asif were not part of the plea.

At the time of the crime, Aamer was an impressionable young kid who made a mistake. He was also under pressure because of his captain’s role in the act. But he did realise his mistake, pleaded guilty in front of the court and is now serving his dues.

He definitely deserves a second chance. He has been quoted on record saying, “I want to come back with my head held high, with a new spirit and as a role model.”

It is questionable whether ICC’s punishment will serve as a deterrent considering the recent incidents of fixing that have come up especially in the Indian Premier League (IPL) but an example was made and a precedence set.

I think in the future, such punishments should be handed out immediately. They should also apply to offences in the domestic circuit to discourage further spot-fixing. For without the fear of severe punishment, what will stop this menace?

However, once the guilty has repented and abides by the conditions laid down for their rehabilitation, they should be afforded a second chance. Perhaps, in the last year of the punishment some conditions may be relaxed to allow for a smoother transition back into the game.

Before the fixing incident, Aamer — along with Asif — was flaunted as the future of Pakistan bowling. His ability and skill left everyone enthralled and awed especially the opposition batsmen who were bamboozled on multiple occasions.

In his absence, Junaid Khan has tried to fill in the void and there have been other notable performers including Mohammad Irfan. But Aamer’s return to the team will be a boost if he is still as good as he used to be in 2010, and this will be ensured if he is permitted to use the training facilities and personnel.

Of course, there is no substitute for match practice, and without the opportunity to play First-Class or Club level cricket, Aamer cannot possibly regain complete match fitness and practice — but still something is better than nothing.

The interim period should provide him with time to prepare himself and await, subject to eligibility, selection on the team in September 2015!

(Dr Amyn Malik is a research associate of Interactive Research & Development and an AKU graduate from the class of 2010. The above post has been reproduced with permission from http://tribune.com.pk/)