Muhammad Amir - Should he be allowed back

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Muhammad Amir - Should he be allowed back

Post by Rowley on Mon 04 Jul 2016, 4:46 pm

Am not sure if this has been discussed at any great length previously as I am not a regular round these parts but as I am sure pretty much everyone on here is aware the forthcoming England Pakistan test match will bring with it the return of Pakistani fast bowler Muhammad Amir. Amir is returning from his five year ban for his involvement in a News of the World sting, where he was filmed agreeing to take money to bowl no balls, which he went on to do, albeit with very little subtlety, in a test match at Lords.

During lunch at the weekend’s One Day International Sky filmed a very interesting interview with Amir and Mike Atherton where his return was discussed and the rights or wrongs of it were then debated. I have to be honest at the time of his ban I was very much of the opinion that Amir should be banned for life, my own view was anybody who was caught cheating or attempting to fix games should be banned for life without exceptions, as that sent the right message to others who would potentially consider doing likewise.

However watching the interview and the arguments articulated by Atherton I am probably swayed by the idea that five years’ is a sufficient length of ban and allowing Amir to return is both reasonable and fair. For those who did not see it the arguments for Amir being allowed to return were along the following lines. Firstly the nature of the sting was a bit questionable and smacked of entrapment. Basically the paper involved did not infiltrate an ongoing betting ring and expose players involved, they pretty much created a dummy organisation and went fishing, approaching players who they thought might be susceptible in the hope of getting a bite, which they obviously did eventually.

Secondly Atherton argued one has to understand a bit about the structure of Pakistani cricket and society. He argued Amir was a young man being put under immense pressure by more senior players to take part in this affair. Atherton’s argument is the Pakistani dressing room is an extremely hierarchical one and one where a young player would find it difficult to resist the more senior players in there, irrespective of what they were being pushed to do and most agree that Salman Butt was the ringleader of the particular scam, Amir was very much the junior partner in it.

Atherton also argued that Amir is a young man, or was at the time of the offence, is it really fair or proportionate to stop a man ever doing his chosen profession on the back of one mistake, particularly given there is mitigation and, as best as we can judge that young man does appear to have shown genuine contrition for his offence. Should also not be forgotten cricket is the means by which Amir feeds his family. Was he banned for life it seems reasonable to say his ability to provide his family with a comfortable lifestyle pretty much disappears.

Whilst Atherton argued his case well the reaction to the debate online suggests there are plenty who still believe he should have been banned for life. Nasser Hussain was also on the debate and whilst he agreed with Atherton on his return he did point out some other factors that need considering. Firstly he stated at the time of the offence the ICC were making strong efforts to ensure all players were aware of what should be done were they to receive such approaches. Amir would have received this same training, and is an educated man who knew exactly what he should have done when approached. As others have said online if this is going to be stamped out a tough line needs to be taken and maintained, irrespective of a players age or talent. There is also an argument, that perhaps has some validity, that the reason Amir has been given a relatively short ban is because it seems as if he is a hugely gifted player, and there is a reasonable question to be asked if a player of less potential would have been treated with such leniency, if indeed you consider a five year ban lenient.

As I say I think I am perhaps in favour of his return. He has some mitigation for his offence and having been to prison for a brief period and not been allowed to play the game at any level for five years I am of the opinion he deserves another chance. Do others agree?

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Re: Muhammad Amir - Should he be allowed back

Post by jimbohammers on Mon 04 Jul 2016, 5:48 pm

I think he should be allowed back. Following the story from when it all happened he was just 18 years old and was pressured by senior players around him to get involved. As a kid just walking into to a team with your heroes Butt, Asif etc.. you do as you are told. Im not condoning what he done but yes i think he should be given a second chance.

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Re: Muhammad Amir - Should he be allowed back

Post by Corporalhumblebucket on Mon 04 Jul 2016, 8:52 pm

I agree.  My instinctive reaction to this kind of offence would be an automatic ban for life.  However, a five year ban of itself is quite a severe penalty (for a faster bowler it's probably about a third of a career at the top level) and I think many players would not have the willpower to come back after that time period.  Ban for life does seem right for players who are - or ought to be - maturer or who are ring leaders. But I think it is reasonable to allow possibility for redemption, alongside a ban of at least five years, where there are some mitigating circumstances.

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Re: Muhammad Amir - Should he be allowed back

Post by VTR on Tue 05 Jul 2016, 8:28 am

If he was a senior player then I would support a life ban, but not in this case as he was basically a young and naive boy who would have looked up to those that should have known a lot better. I would also say bowling a couple of no-balls is not match fixing as such, as he had actually wrecked the England top order in the match so was clearly trying

Whilst I don't exactly welcome him back with open arms, I have no issue with him playing this series*

*unless he bowls Pakistan to a series victory in which case I will withdraw all of the above and claim he should have been banned for life!

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Re: Muhammad Amir - Should he be allowed back

Post by guildfordbat on Tue 05 Jul 2016, 8:34 am

Hi Jeff - that's a very fine opening post.

I haven't studied the case in any detail but the length of the ban and Amir's return now seem about right.

As a bit of an aside, I would add that Atherton is usually a thoughtful and considered judge of all cricketing matters.

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Re: Muhammad Amir - Should he be allowed back

Post by Good Golly I'm Olly on Tue 05 Jul 2016, 12:23 pm

From what I've read on the case I think he should be allowed back to play. As others have mentioned he was young, naive and basically it seems bullied into it. He has served his time (including a prison stint) and seems to have realised what he did wrong from what I've read.

He'll get a bit of stick from crowds but it'll die down over time - cricket should look to use him to educate younger players on how to avoid getting caught up in such things

As a complete aside - it is good to see him back from a purely cricketing standpoint. I've never seen such a talented young seam bowler as Amir, and hope he can reach his potential. He was and still is an incredible talent
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Re: Muhammad Amir - Should he be allowed back

Post by Corporalhumblebucket on Tue 05 Jul 2016, 12:28 pm

VTR wrote:If he was a senior player then I would support a life ban, but not in this case as he was basically a young and naive boy who would have looked up to those that should have known a lot better. I would also say bowling a couple of no-balls is not match fixing as such, as he had actually wrecked the England top order in the match so was clearly trying

Whilst I don't exactly welcome him back with open arms, I have no issue with him playing this series*

*unless he bowls Pakistan to a series victory in which case I will withdraw all of the above and claim he should have been banned for life!
Very Happy A very wise caveat, if I may say so!

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