Pietersen joins English attack on Mohammad Amir's return; calls for life ban

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Pietersen joins English attack on Mohammad Amir's return; calls for life ban

Self-righteousness is the quickest refuge of the Englishman, and Britain's cricketers are right now crowding it calling for Mohammad Amir's life-time ban. The Pakistani will play in the first Test against England tomorrow at the Lord's where it all began in 2010 when he bowled a deliberate no-ball.

Kevin Pietersen may be out of favor and not return to the English national team, but the stylish batsman has been in the thick of things even off it. In his column in the Telegraph, Pietersen said, “Any sportsman or woman caught match fixing, spot fixing, or taking drugs should be banned for life. They have broken the rules, should pay the price and not be given a second chance.

If you cheat the system either by taking drugs or money to under-perform then you are mugging the spectators, your team-mates and a sport that has been around a lot longer than you

Mohammad Amir was caught bowling a deliberate no-ball in 2010 at the Lord's and underwent investigations along with skipper Salman Butt and pacer Mohammad Asif. While the other two refuted charges, Amir admitted to the offence. The final ruling was more lenient to Amir considering he was only 18 years old and was under the influence of a brother figure in captain Salman Butt. The pacer received a five-year ban and returned to international cricket last year after a slightly reduced period.

Also read: Why Mohammad Amir deserves a second chance

However, the pacer has faced a wall of criticism from English players, current and former, who have called for a life-time ban, calling the five years a lenient punishment. Ex-spinner Graeme Swann had echoed the sentiment, while captain Alastair Cook had warned Amir to “expect a reaction” when he returns to play at the Lord's.

In the column, Pietersen further said, “I understand that in the sub-continent cricketers come from villages where there is poverty and deprivation. The chance to escape the village and give their family a better life is something they will do anything for. They get the chance to play international cricket and earn massive sums of money and are exposed to temptation. But to bowl a no ball for £50,000 to earn more money is just greed”.

The 36-year-old, who was part of that ignominious match, recalled the events on those few days at the Lord's.

That day we learned about the spot fix at Lord’s in 2010, when it emerged that Amir and Mohammad Asif had deliberately bowled no balls in exchange for money and in collusion with their captain Salman Butt, was horrible. The story broke on the Saturday night and we all felt sick on the final day of the game.

“The guys did not shake hands at the end of the Test. We felt empty when we took the wickets to win the match and did not celebrate. I remember taking a catch at mid on and I just threw the ball back to Graeme Swann who was bowling. It was just an awful morning. The relationship between the two teams was fractured because we all knew the damage it would do to cricket,” in the Telegraph.

The British reaction appears to be, in part an attempt to destabilize Amir ahead of the series, and in part a genuine repulsion to match-fixing and a wish for harsher punishment. However, it is time now for real cricket to begin, and we will soon witness whether Amir will breathe fire or be a flop, if it was all worth it.

Also read: Kohli & Amir - the Kane & Abel of cricket

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