Would you want Mohammad Amir back if he was not talented?

Published: August 13, 2013
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If the PCB or the ICC want to sweep the game of cricket from corruption once and for all then the 'zero-tolerance' motto must be implemented in its true letter and spirit.

From the moment the News of the World (NoTW) published the spot-fixing story, the cricketing world, it seemed, was taken by storm. A large number of Pakistani cricket fanatics went about expressing soft sentiments for the young Mohammad Amir and each had their own argument.

The majority seem to converge on two points:

(A) he is exceptionally talented

(B) He is very young and has a good amount of cricket stamina left in him.

This school of thought seems to believe that the young fast bowler should be given a second chance to play sooner than the expiration of the five year ban imposed by the ICC.

Fans are fans and they will always want to see their heroes in action, at any cost, so they can’t be blamed for their emotions, but the authorities that are administering the game have a greater responsibility. Their role should be to refrain from transmitting a one-sided opinion. If a cricket board chief hints of having a soft corner for a player then it should not be appreciated – no bias should.

The above mentioned points that are playing their role in seeing Amir’s early return to the field are not persuasive enough for me. I disagree with statements like ‘he is very young and was trapped’ simply because he was not young enough in terms of the experience he carried under his belt. Before the infamous Lord’s Test, Mohammad Amir had played a fair amount of cricket and was taught the rules and regulations by the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB).

My question to everyone is – what if Amir was not exceptionally talented? Would your reaction have still been the same?

By incessantly talking about Amir’s return, the Pakistan cricket authorities are indicating to the world that we are probably short of talent in Pakistan or willing to compromise ethics for cricketing gains. What this does, combined with our previous indiscretions, is raise questions about whether talent is the only decisive factor when considering the fate of a player involved in malpractice.

Amir mentioned in his first interview to Sky News that since he was ‘not used to bowling no-balls’ he had to practice rigorously before he was able to make those notorious deliveries at Lords. Here I agree with him, because his track record suggests the same – 14 Tests and 24 No-balls – but what happened in his seventh test match where he over-stepped 13 times is glaring evidence.

Keeping this point in mind, I would like to remind you all about the incident where Amir was seen talking on his mobile phone during a domestic match in Pakistan and was also penalised. Therefore, describing him as purely innocent and only a victim of the trap allegedly set by former skipper Salman Butt and the others, is not an argument I am willing to digest so easily.

When he stated that a man named ‘Ali’ blackmailed him – he was probably right but then he, Amir, must have done something before the England tour due to which Mazhar Majeed was able to blackmail him as well. Who knows if his seventh test – against Australia – was the starting point of the relationship between Amir and the spot-fixing gang?

If the environment is deliberately being molded in Amir’s favour then this shows that either we, in Pakistan, are short of talent and don’t believe that there is another Amir present in the entire country or we don’t want Amir to open up any further so that any other possible culprits can remain unharmed.

If, at the end of the day, the PCB or the ICC want to sweep the game of cricket from corruption once and for all, then the ‘zero-tolerance’ motto must be implemented in its true letter and spirit.

Muhammad Asif Khan

Muhammad Asif Khan

Head of Sports section at News One TV and a TV show host of 'Sports One.' He has also worked with Business Plus and Indus TV. He tweets @twitter.com/mak_asif

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • MAyOr

    Very Immature Article.. Total waste of time…Recommend

  • DirkNannes

    Of course not. Hes talented and has proven how good he is in the past, and young, therefore good for the team. Simple as that really.Recommend

  • MAD

    The suspected match i believe was one in which Aamir did not play. Yes I want to see him play again. He is already among the top left arm fast bowlers ever seen and may well equal or surpass Wasim Akram one day.Recommend

  • Gingo

    Pakistani cricket fans are demanding that a corrupt cricketer with a record of match rigging should returnRecommend

  • Gemini

    If this guy can make Michael Holding cry, than he is more talented than anyone else on this planet.Recommend

  • HK

    There is absolutely no reason why he should not play again. He did something (or was induced to do something), he paid for it and that the end of it.Recommend

  • Khan

    @Gingo:
    If corrupt politicans can be made eligible to run the whole country, why cant a corrupt, but very talented, cricketer be allowed to return to the team?Recommend

  • http://www.cricinfo.com faraz

    @DirkNannes: thank youRecommend

  • http://www.cricinfo.com faraz

    @DirkNannes:
    are you dirk nannes from australia?Recommend

  • Anwar

    Finally a real good article on this. there are endless debates on this but if the nation care for the future of this game ZERO tolerance is the way to go.
    In any other country there wouldn’t even have been a debate after these cheats were caught red handed.
    Finally the argument that he was young and trapped are all useless as any 5th grader can know what is wrong from right. Ban all the 3 for good and find and nurture better talent.
    Remember what he did was not petty theft… he cheated the nation especially all the fans and for that he should never be forgiven. Recommend

  • http://UAE JB

    I have one simple question for the author-if cricketers like Shoaib Malik are given chances after throwing whole matches (local T20 comes to mind) while being a captain of that particular team, how can you not allow a youngster who not only tried to back out of the whole scenario by lying and saying he didnt cheat (ala Asif and Butt) to come back in to the team? Is he being punished for accepting his mistake? He paid the price for it and did not go in to endless appeals first and then admit his mistake. He pleaded guilty. He served time. And its not about zero tolerance policy of the board. Shoaib Malik is still an active player. Where was zero tolerance then?
    And please tell me, which one of you made ‘Mature’ decisions at the age of 19?? Asif knew what he was doing. He had been in trouble before. Butt was the captain. He knew what he was doing. Amir was a 19 year old rookie still learning the ropes. I am sorry but 14 odd tests do NOT make you a veteran of the game!Recommend

  • Amir

    Such a stupid article and headline.
    If he was not talented, he would not even be in UK to do what he did…and no one would have heard about him…Recommend

  • HRK

    I beg to differ with the author’s viewpoint that a no-tolerance policy should be implemented by what would essentially be a life-ban on Amir. In a just environment there has to be a balance between the crime and punishment; you don’t go on and start beheading small time thieves, especially the young ones who can be corrected and can help correct others. There’s a distinct difference between spot fixing and match fixing and since he’s guilty of the former, he should only be accountable for it. Moreover, the whole point of our nation backing him is because he is young, extremely talented, was in the wrong company, has admitted to his guilt, is genuinely sorry for what he did, is quietly completing his punishment and is ready to help clean up the environment. Even though Asif is one of the best we’ve had no one backed him up because of his dented character certificate. If even after having the talented Junaid and Irfan in our line up our hearts still want to see this kid bowling, it means that he does deserve a chance!Recommend

  • http://www.pltacademy.com Travel_Tart

    He must not return.
    .
    Pakistan should rather suffer than giving bad example to future talented guys!Recommend

  • http://blogs.tribune.com.pk/story/18457/would-you-want-mohammad-amir-back-if-he-was-not-talented/ sabia

    Mohammad Amir deserves a chance and I forgive him
    So can anyone atleast he admitted unlike these 2 at the end
    Salman Butt and Mohammad Asif admitted.
    Whatever mistakes Mohammad Amir make I will forgive him
    Cos he’s Mashallah Talented bowler just like Wasim Akram
    I am his age and when you’re young u make mistake
    U learn from ur mistake, atleast you admitted it, you should learn from it
    Its
    Tooks a lot of guts for me to forgive Salman butt and Mohammad Asif
    I don’t want to hold grudges against anyone neither them.
    I am glad they admitted it.
    I don’t like holding grudges and I forgive my enemies
    Allah Tal’la said you should learn to love your enemy and forgive them.
    This article is just plain stupid to Question Mohammad Amir’s talent
    Inshallah Muhammad Amir you will make a comeback remember Allah Tal’la is always be with you! Ameen!Recommend

  • XYZ

    Honestly, what a silly article title. Obviously he possesses enough talent to have got him fame in the first place. Had he not been talented, he wouldn’t have been a cricketer, and we wouldn’t have known about him, hence wouldn’t have cared two hoots about him. Recommend

  • James Hanrahan

    I would let him return because he was mislead by senior members of the team and he has now been punished enoughRecommend

  • http://getonwithsports.blogspot.com Hassan Ahmed

    If he was not talented then nobody would care whether he is playing or not but the fact that he was an exceptional talent, every cricket lover in the world want to see his bowling magic on the cricket field. Recommend

  • http://peddarowdy.wordpress.com Anoop

    Excellent question. The one I’ve asked before but had gotten no answers here:

    http://blogs.tribune.com.pk/story/17980/he-repented-forgive-him-and-bring-mohammad-amir-back/

    I don’t think I know Pakistani Cricket THAT well in terms of likeness of a particular player, but I think Kamran Akmal is pretty hated or the most hated player.

    Ask yourself would you suspend your morality and ask and beg and go out of your way to get him back, had he done something like this.

    Its all about precedent. A court cannot let go of a tax-evader just because he has helped many people or has done a lot of good to society or will do a lot of good to society.

    By getting him back, Pakistan would set a bad precedent and an example for many Pakistanis. Recommend

  • iqbal

    Amir deserves a second chance he has repended fr his mistakeRecommend

  • A.K

    @JB:
    Shoaib Malik scenario was totally different. He didn’t continue the match in protest. Its more closer to what Inzimam did in England. Amir crime was spot fixing for money. Recommend

  • http://Www.madina.com Noor mohmmad hingora