Mohammad Amir deserves half the salary and no chance at captaincy

Published: October 24, 2015
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Banned: Pakistan's Mohammad Amir has broken an official ban from cricket by bowling at club level. PHOTO: AFP

Mohammad Amir, the young cricketer who was banned for a spot fixing scandal, still managed to garner a lot of sympathy from Pakistanis, be it cricketing legends or experts and because of this, he has been allowed to play cricket once again.

However, if the cricket fraternity thought Amir would be welcomed back with open arms, they were wrong. Yes, Amir is still young, has immense talent, bearing in mind his recent performances in the realm of domestic cricket, where he claimed more than 30 wickets in six matches during the Quaid-e-Azam Trophy, yet, people, in specific his team mates, will not be as forgiving.

This was evident after the recent spat between Amir and Faisal Iqbal which turned a lot of heads. The row between these two highlights how most players will still not be as accepting towards Amir. Apparently, Iqbal called Amir a ‘thief’ due to which they got into a verbal spat. This resulted in Amir being fined 150 per cent of the match fee and Iqbal being given a warning.

It may seem like a normal heated verbal spat between two players, but it reflects upon two blatant issues. Firstly, it shows that Amir’s attitude is still a cause of concern. Secondly, it also shows that no matter how hard the selectors may try to get the banned players into the mix; other players will still display signs of hesitation and condescension towards the banned players. This is mainly due to the fact that they believe the banned players do not deserve a place on the team because they tarnished the image of our nation for money.

This argument doesn’t only apply to Amir of course, it applies to the other two as well, Salman Butt and Mohammad Asif.

Big names in cricket, such Ramiz Raja and Javed Miandad held their ground stating that these three should not be allowed to play cricket at all, however, the counter argument provided by the players was that they need to earn their livelihood and they should be allowed a second chance to prove their worth and talent. Why shouldn’t they, especially since they have served punishment for the crime.

I personally was completely against the trio returning to the field of cricket, but upon hearing both sides of the argument, I finally realised the solution lies somewhere in between these two views.

To begin with, if the trio are being inducted in the squad again, the same code of conduct which is being applied to the rest of the players should not be applied to them. But as much as I believe in second chances, keeping in the mind the shame the trio brought upon us, I think it is fair to say their second chance should come at a price.

The trio should be welcomed back to the domestic circuit and if they do get a chance to perform at international level as well, they should definitely be made to sign a new code of conduct. This code of conduct will separate them from the rest of the playing cricketing class in this country as well as set a precedent that once you put the worth of your country at stake, you will miss out on the privileges you once enjoyed.

According to me, the new code of conduct should have the following terms in it.

No Captaincy for the Trio 

The first and foremost thing Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) should make clear is that these three should never be allowed to captain Pakistan, be it a domestic or international match. By doing that, the juniors in the team will learn that no matter how big a player you are, if you malign the country’s name for the sake of money, you will not be able to land a senior position.

Australia followed the same rule and never let Shane Warne, who many Australians believed had the best cricketing brain to play the game, become the Captain of the Australian team because of his involvement in various controversies and instead appointed Ricky Ponting as the captain after the departure of Steve Waugh.

Their salaries should be slashed by 50 per cent for the rest of their career

This might seem a bit harsh, but that’s how it should be. The trio should only receive 50 per cent of the match fee, the central contact and daily allowance, in all formats, be it domestic or international. By doing this, PCB is allowing them to start earning, but not giving them the full luxury to earn as much as everyone else will be earning.

No individual advertisements or endorsement for as long as they play cricket.

The trio should not be allowed to feature in any advertisement as an individual. By going along with this plan, PCB can curtail them from becoming the face of cricket in Pakistan, which they should never be allowed to become.

Many may argue that these terms will be extremely unfair, however, I feel it would be a positive step, if it ever to be taken. I see it as a chance for them to redeem themselves, as a chance to pay back our nation, who even after what they did, are willing to accept them.

It’s a chance for them to start earning again and do what they love to do, which is play the game. It’s a chance for them to show the world that they are better than before. This is their chance to regain their integrity and win over their fans. But they should know, these chances will come at a price, a price that the trio should be more than willing to pay.

Azeem Siddiqui

Azeem Siddiqui

The author is a sports writer, sports blogger and sub-editor sports desk at Express Tribune. He tweets as @aze3msiddiqui (twitter.com/aze3msiddiqui)

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