LAHORE - Pakistan's cricket chief said Wednesday he was optimistic the game's governing body would relax the five-year ban imposed on young paceman Mohammad Aamir for spot-fixing. Aamir, now 21, was banned along with team-mates Salman Butt and Mohammad Asif for deliberately bowling no-balls in return for the promise of money during the 2010 Lord's Test against England. All three players also served jail terms in Britain on charges of violating the Gambling Act.
The International Cricket Council (ICC) said Saturday that Aamir's case would be reviewed after a revised anti-corruption code was adopted. The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) in July had asked the ICC to relax the conditions of Aamir's ban to let him train atthe national academy and play first-class matches. The ICC will review the new code at a meeting in January and PCB chairman Najam Sethi said he was optimistic for Aamir.
"We hope good news will come in January," Sethi told reporters at Lahore airport on his return from the ICC meeting. "I think Aamir should get permission to play first-class cricket because he has served four of the five-year ban." Sethi said Aamir's ban was harsh and the PCB has argued he should be given credit for admitting his guilt and taking part in ICC anti-corruption efforts. "He is a very young cricketer and there is big support and sympathy for him," said Sethi.
Aamir was just 18 at the time of the incident and widely regarded as one of the best young bowling talents in the game. He took six wickets in the fateful Lord's Test and was declared man-of-the-series in Pakistan's 3-1 series defeat. Last week Aamir told AFP he was dying to return to the game. "I am desperate to return to the game I love and hope to get some relaxation in the ban," he said.