ICC chief David Richardson backs Mohammed Amir to have impact in international cricket

The former South Africa wicketkeeper says the young fast bowler can do well on return from a spot-fixing ban. Paul Radley erports.

Mohammed Amir was suspended for his role in a spot-fixing controversy in 2010. Ian Kington / AFP
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DUBAI // David Richardson, the International Cricket Counci (ICC) chief executive, has said Mohammed Amir can make a successful return to international cricket despite his long absence from the sport because of a ban for spot-fixing.

Amir was suspended from all cricket for five years after being found guilty of spot-fixing in a Test match against England in 2010.

At the start of this year he was granted permission by the ICC to return, after he showed a high level of remorse for his wrongdoing and co-operated with anti-corruption education.

He has played second grade and domestic Twenty20 cricket in Pakistan since then, and has said he is hoping to return to the international game.

Richardson cited the case of his former captain Hansie Cronje, who was banned from cricket for match-fixing, as a reason to believe people are capable of changing their ways.

“I certainly hope so,” said Richardson, a former South Africa wicketkeeper, when asked if he was confident the five-year ban and rehabilitation procedure will have worked for Amir.

“He was a very talented youngster. People make mistakes. I personally was involved with someone who captained my team and made mistakes.

“I certainly saw it was very possible for him to realise the wrongs of his ways and to do everything he could to try and get back to be accepted again.

“I have every faith that in Amir’s case it will be very similar.”

When Pakistan play England in the UAE later this year, it will be more than five years since Amir last played, in the Test match at Lord’s in which his bowling of no-balls to order was exposed.

It is unlikely he will have proved himself ready for a recall to national duty by then, but, at 23, time is on his side.

“I am ready to put in the hard yards to serve Pakistan,” Amir was quoted as saying last month on cricket.com.au.

“I am extremely pleased to see the crowd and fans supporting me after the comeback. It really is huge force of motivation for me.”

While Amir’s case is a reminder of the trouble cricket has faced on the field as regards corruption in the past, Richardson is confident his organisation does not suffer the sort of problems currently overwhelming football.

Speaking at a press conference at the ICC offices in Dubai, Richardson said the type of allegations that have been made against Fifa have no parallel at all in cricket.

“You know the measures we take to keep our game free of any type of corruption, be that on the field spot or match-fixing or any other kind of corruption,” Richardson said.

“I am absolutely confident that in my time at the ICC I have never seen any evidence whatsoever of any kind of backhanders or payments that have been made or shouldn’t have been made as seem to have been alleged in this Fifa investigation.

“Yes, from time to time, the decisions made by an ICC board might be questioned in terms of the wisdom of them.

“But certainly no evidence, or even talk or consideration to this type of thing that seems to be emerging in the Fifa investigation.”


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