Amir’s presence would have enhanced Pakistan, says Stewart


Former England captain Alec Stewart has thrown his weight behind the tainted trio of Mohammed Amir, Mohammed Asif and Salman Butt, saying the players should be allowed to play international cricket after having completed their punishments.

“They have done their punishment,” said Stewart.

“That’s what we expected which is that once you have completed your ban, you are entitled to come back into the game and play again.”

The 52-year-old former wicketkeeper-batsman made it clear though that if the players were to repeat their misdemeanours, a life ban would become a necessary option.

“Let’s make sure that there is no repetition of what they did before, because if there is then life bans have to come into the picture,” he said.

In February 2011 an anti-corruption tribunal of the International Cricket Council (ICC) imposed a ban of five years on Amir, seven years on Asif of which the final two years were conditionally suspended and 10 years on Butt of which the final five years were conditionally suspended.

They were charged with violating the ICC code of conduct by receiving money in return for arranging deliberate no-balls during the Lord’s Test against England in 2010.

Stewart said that more players will now be cautious before thinking about breaking rules.

“It was bad for the game but people have learnt their lessons and we won’t have a repeat of those type of incidents again,” said Stewart who is currently an executive director at Surrey county cricket club.

The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) allowed opening batsman Salman Butt and fast bowlers Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Amir to play division two and club cricket from September 2, but the trio will be barred from first class and international matches until their rehab program ends on February 28 next year.

Stewart said Amir’s presence in the Pakistan side for the upcoming series against England would have made things interesting.

“It would have been more interesting had Mohammad Amir been selected.”

“If he had been selected and started to bowl anything like how he had bowled when he emerged onto the international scene then he could have surely enhanced the quality of the Pakistan eleven,” said Stewart.