What if Muhammad Amir was guilty even before the spot-fixing scandal of 2010?

Published: October 24, 2013

Did something happen in Muhammad Amir’s seventh Test match under Muhammad Yousuf’s captaincy? Are we missing a big piece to a bigger puzzle? PHOTO: AFP

Banned fast bowler, Muhammad Amir is the talk of the town once again. He is young and obviously talented, and so is being missed on the cricket fields but alas, his ban lasts until September 2015. Before the notorious spot fixing scandal of 2010 he could have walked into any team but today, he had to wait even to get into the domestic circuit!

I am not a legal expert, so I am not be equipped to comment on the legalities of the Pakistan Cricket Board’s desperation to get Amir’s sentence reduced or at least find a way for him to play domestic cricket until the time for his ban lapses. For that purpose, the PCB interim chairman did not only hire a legal expert in England, but went to attend ICC meetings twice to raise the same concerns in front of the relevant authorities.

Many former cricketers and experts are against any concessions for Amir, as they believe that if Amir is commiserated then why not Salman Butt and Mohammad Asif or even Danish Kaneria who has not confessed his crime, like the trio, and is still fighting a legal battle to clear his name of the spot-fixing charge.

The public opinion, however, is divided on Amir’s issue. The anti-Amir lot sees him as a traitor whereas his fans sympathise with him. In my opinion, both parties should stick to the rules of the game; the players should abide by rules that have been made to curb malpractices of all sorts and the authorities should apply the rules as per stated.

The regulations drafted by the ICC as well as by the PCB don’t allow leniency towards any player, regardless of his talent or age. In light of this, I see no reason for concessions for Muhammad Amir.

There are many cricket followers who believe that the notorious no-balls were delivered under the pressure of the then captain, Salman Butt. Amir did mention, in his interview with Sky Sports, that he was blackmailed and under immense pressure from the bookie etcetera and so he went through with it, albeit unwillingly. This, according to Amir was not easy feat as he was not used to delivering no-balls.

The question that boggles my mind is what were the grounds for blackmail? Had he done something wrong in the first place due to which he was being blackmailed? It is very difficult to blackmail a person who is not guilty of anything to begin with. But what if he is guilty? This question impelled me to dig into Amir’s previous record.

Muhammad Amir made his Test debut in July 2009 and didn’t deliver a single no-ball in his first two Test matches. He collectively bowled 49 overs.

In the third Test match, he over-stepped for the first time. He delivered only once in 31 overs.

In the following three Test matches, Muhammad Amir was again flawless and over-stepped only twice in 95 overs, but his seventh Test match reveals astonishing figures, in terms of crossing the bowling crease. The match was played against Australia in December 2009 where Muhammad Amir bowled an appalling 13 no-balls!

Post that Test match, until the Lords’ Test, he remained steady.

Now although this may all seem presumptuous, but 13 no-balls in one match is not a joke. All things considered, I would like to revert your attention once again to my first question; why did Amir state, in his interview with Sky Sports, that he was being blackmailed?

Is he guilty of something that happened in the past that only the bookie was aware of?

I do not, in any way, intend to accuse Muhammad Amir for anything, but would just like for his case to be scrutinised from all angles possible before any charges are dropped. If he is to be let back on the team, if he is to represent Pakistan once again, then he better be clean.

Until then, I leave you with two questions;

  1. Did something happen in Muhammad Amir’s seventh Test match under Muhammad Yousuf’s captaincy? Are we missing a big piece to a bigger puzzle? Are there others involved?
  2. Would you allow someone to babysit your child if he/she was convicted for child abuse, albeit only once?

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.

  • TahirF1

    @Author, totally agree with you. He should complete his ban then allowed to play in any forms of cricket.Recommend

  • taimoor

    “Would you allow someone to babysit your child if he/she was convicted for child abuse, albeit only once?”

    Man, that escalated quickly!Recommend

  • blue bird

    absolutely no leniency should be shown to this person. they play for the nation. millions of people across the country take the game very seriously. win or loss matters to them. cheating is a cruel joke on the country. players should play with the spirit of the game.

    letting him go because of the talent , this logic is flawed. every person who plays in international cricket is talented.

    as u sow , shall u reap.Recommend

  • Noman Ansari
  • Noman Ansari

    That’s true. If he is truly remorseful, he should come clean about any criminal activity.Recommend

  • Imran

    you are absolutely right but the child abuse part is unnecessary because he was not accused of being a pedophileRecommend

  • Lookman

    So are you questioning Muhammad Yousuf as well. Secondly the test match that you are talking about against AUS. Run outs were missed by Kamran Akmal. Catches were dropped by Amir and Asif. Also after the team’s dismal performace in AUS and NZ series, M yousuf complained against Malik, Butt, Farhat and Akmal brothers that they are very incoperative. But what happedened, He himeself was explelled from the team and now we can see the results….

    Had PCB taken some serious steps then, we would have not faced such humiliation.
    Shame be upon us…But in our society the only true saying is “Jo Boolay, wohi khudi kholay”Recommend

  • Ch. Allah Daad

    He should never be allowed to play again for Pakistan. He has lost trust for ever.Recommend

  • Aqilmund

    Interesting factoid: During a TV interview after this ”2010 incident’ his mother mentioned the fact that ‘although everyone in our village was betting my son would step away from them” while describing how prevalent betting was on their villages’ local cricket pitch.Recommend

  • Afkar ahmed

    well to me I don’t think you are a true son of Pakistan, even Prophet and God forgive and forgave the 1st mistake when admitted but we the nation of cheaters jointly cant bear a young man making one mistake and are all ready to follow international propaganda to let go of one of the finest talent of the century – he made a mistake, he openly admitted it, apologised for it, got sentenced and had a proper punishment and to me he should be given a chance once again… I’m sorry to say, writers like yourself Mr Asif khan, are giving us a bad name and fame to earn your livings – not a fair deal is it?Recommend

  • Anooop

    Money is influence, power is influence. In this case, his talent is influence.

    Would anyone be vouching for him, speaking for him if he weren’t talented?

    So, most people who want this influence culture to be eliminated and talk down Politicians of using their influence to make their lives easier and make money, aren’t they enabling it?

    Same principle really. You have influence you can bend the rule.

    Isn’t it hypocritical to be against corruption, bad practices, unholy gain using money and power, but support this?Recommend

  • Arshad

    Why society accepts murderers,thieves and other corrupt/guilty people after their punishment is over? Why they are allowed to live in same house/mohalla/city in same people where they did their crime? When society accepts all theses criminal people then why not Amir back in cricket after Bann?Recommend

  • Parvez

    Well said Asif. I am one of those who believe that Amir needs to be tried for treason.Recommend

  • pakistan

    everybody deserves a second chance and i think he deserves on too he pleaded guilty and mr asif khan everybody deserves the benefit of the doubt and until you cant prove anything against him your accusing him and thats even wrong Islamicly.Recommend

  • Salman

    A lot of bad things happened Mohammad Yousuf’s captaincy……Recommend

  • Don

    Above all the things humans make mistakes even you can be slipped in it. He had apologized for his act. He committed his mistake not like asif and butt still denying. Amir deserves a chanceRecommend

  • mory great

    I am not a acknowledged expert, so I am not be able to animadversion on
    the legalities of the Pakistan Candid Board’s agony to get Amir’s
    book bargain or at atomic acquisition a way for him to play calm candid
    until the time for his ban lapses. For that purpose, the PCB acting
    administrator did not alone appoint a acknowledged able in England, but
    went to appear ICC affairs alert to accession the aforementioned apropos
    in foreground of the accordant authorities.