The reprieve given to Pakistan bowler Mohammad Amir in a spot-fixing scandal will encourage corrupt players to come clean and help maintain the game’s integrity, International Cricket Council (ICC) Chief Executive David Richardson said on Tuesday.
Amir and his former team mates Salman Butt and Mohammad Asif were all banned for spot-fixing, particularly for bowling deliberate no-balls by pre-arrangement at Lord’s, during Pakistan’s tour of England in 2010.
The trio served jail sentences in Britain and were given minimum five-year bans by an ICC tribunal.
Amir’s five-year ban was scheduled to expire on Sept. 2 but ICC’s anti-corruption unit (ACSU) chairman Ronnie Flanagan exercised his discretion to allow him to return to domestic cricket with immediate effect on Thursday.
“There’s an incentive to players that if you have messed up there’s a way back,” Richardson tolda foreign news agency in a telephone interview.
“Don’t forget that Amir would have been out of international cricket for five years. That’s more than half a career.
“Most players don’t even get to play five years at international level,” said the former South Africa stumper-batsman.
Left-arm bowler Amir was marked as a great prospect for Pakistan in his early days and at the age of 18 he became the youngest bowler to capture 50 test wickets during the controversial test match at Lord’s in 2010.
According to a revised anti-corruption code, a banned player can appeal to resume playing domestic cricket before the end of the ban.
“Not withstanding what he did, no one suggests that we should be tolerant or be lax on players who get involved in these type of things,” the 55-year-old Richardson said.
“But in his case, he admitted his involvement and since then he’s made every effort to disclose everything that he knows to help the ACSU with their education programmes.
“Therefore, I think he served as a good example to players who might have got involved in the past, regret what they have done and there’s a way for them to come back in due course.”