Mohammad Aamer was banned for spot-fixing in 2010 © AFP
Mohammad Aamer was banned for spot-fixing in 2010 © AFP

Disgraced Pakistan paceman Mohammad Aamer could return to first-class cricket as early as February after a relaxation of the conditions of his ban for spot-fixing, an official said. Aamer, 22, was banned for five years along with Salman Butt and Mohammad Asif in a spot fixing case in England in 2010, and the trio were jailed by a UK court in 2011.

The paceman was interviewed in Lahore Friday by the International Cricket Council (ICC) after the governing body revised the players’ code of conduct in November last year, adding a provision that allows a banned player to play in domestic games a certain period prior to the end of the ban. The change of rules prompted the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) to file an appeal with the ICC to relax certain conditions of Aamer’s ban last year. A final decision on Aamer’s appeal will be taken in ICC Board meeting in Dubai next week.

A PCB spokesman confirmed Aamer’s potential return. “It is most likely that Aamer will get reprieve to play domestic cricket,” said the spokesman Agha Akber. PCB chairman Shaharyar Khan last week said Aamer will be monitored in first-class cricket before returning to international cricket. His five year ban expires in August this year.

PCB has said that since the other two banned players — Butt and Asif — took time to plead guilty and have not completed a mandatory rehabilitation, their cases will not be taken up with the ICC. Before the ban Aamer was described as cricket’s “hottest property” by legendary Pakistan pace-man Imran Khan.