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Monday, January 31, 2011


Does Mohammad Amir have a future in cricket?It was very disconcerting and depressing to see bowlers like Sohail Tanvir and Abdul Razzaq handed the new ball in the third One Day International against New Zealand on 29 January, 2011. Some months ago, it was the extremely talented duo of Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Amir sharing that responsibility for the national team. Pakistani cricket fans will be desperately praying that the International Cricket Council tribunal which is due to announce their verdict about the banned trio’s future on 5 February, 2011 show some leniency towards Mohammad Amir at the very least.
Of the three suspended players, Mohammad Amir has the best chance of being acquitted of the charges with a light or even no sentence at all. It is very difficult to foresee the same fate for Salman Butt and Mohammad Asif. In Butt’s case his being captain at the time the fiasco unfolded is something that will most definitely tilt the tribunal’s decision against him. The least said about Mohammad Asif’s record, which is full of a wide-range of indiscretions, the better. The Pakistanis can realistically hope for only Amir to be found not guilty and is allowed to become a part of the already announced national team, if his suspension is actually lifted.
The factors that might go in Mohammad Amir’s favour are his age and inexperience; in fact ICC’s anti-corruption law does dictate that a player can be dealt with compassionately if he is young and his past record is clean, which thankfully is the case for Amir. His claims that he was ordered to bowl the no-balls by his captain Salman Butt could soften the tribunal’s stance towards Amir if they do find that Butt had exerted undue influence on the youngster and even threatened to axe him from the team if he did not comply.
The ICC tribunal might also have made a mental note of Amir’s daring and quite frankly stupefying decision to wear a t-shirt sporting the logo ‘legalise cannabis’ to the third day of the hearing at Doha. While it may be called childish behaviour on Amir’s part, it is doubtful that it will not have much of an effect on the tribunal’s eventual verdict.
Recently, Amir has done something which can potentially harm his chances of his being acquitted, that being his decision to play a practice match in Rawalpindi a few days ago, which the Pakistan Cricket Board claims it had nothing to with. Why Amir decided to risk his future by appearing in a fixture at such a crucial juncture in his career is beyond comprehension, and it also brings to light the haphazard manner in which the PCB is dealing with this issue of huge importance.
While the Board of Cricket Control in India hushed up similar kinds of charges levelled at Suresh Raina, the PCB has appeared very reluctant to lend any helping hand to its suspended players. It is vital for Pakistan’s chances of performing well at the 2011 ICC World Cup in the near future and for the team’s long term morale that Amir is absolved of the charges.
Amir is a natural talent the likes of which Pakistan has not produced for the past two decades. If the PCB had shown more interest in standing up for Mohammad Amir rather than joining in the power struggle within the team, the results could have been very different for the prodigious Pakistani fast bowler.
We can continue to hope the exciting teenager Mohammad Amir is found not guilty and is able to shine for Pakistan at the World Cup and for many long years to come. If he is unable to play in the World Cup, one might foresee chances of Pakistan lifting the glory remaining as just a mere dream even after 19 years of uncertainty and disparity.
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