Mohammad Amir admits playing a village match while banned

Banned Pakistan bowler Mohammad Amir has admitted playing for a village team but says he thought it was a friendly and did not contravene his suspension.

The International Cricket Council has launched an inquiry after it emerged that Amir, 19, played in the Surrey league for Addington 1743 on Saturday.

He was suspended for five years in February after being found guilty of deliberately bowling no balls.

"I spoke to club representatives and was told I was fine to play," he said.

Speaking to PakPassion.netexternal-link, Amir stated: "I was informed before the game that it was a friendly match, being played on a privately owned cricket ground.

"I asked the club representatives if the match fell under the jurisdiction of the ECB [England and Wales Cricket Board] and they informed me that it did not.

"They all told me that it was a friendly match and therefore would not contravene my ban."

The ICC ban states that Amir must not take part in any cricket-related activity, however he played in good faith.

"I would not be stupid enough to knowingly play in a match that I knew would contravene my ban," he added.

"Wherever I am going to play cricket, the world will know about it. I would not be stupid enough to play in a match where I knew that I would be taking a risk."

Addington 1743's websiteexternal-link confirms that Amir appeared for the team against St Luke's CCexternal-link.

The match scorecardexternal-link shows that he took four wickets in seven overs for nine runs. He also opened the batting and hit 60 as Addington won by 81 runs.

ICC spokesman James Fitzgerald commented: "We have heard the reports and we are investigating. The suspension very clearly states that it is a suspension from all forms of cricket and all cricket-related activities."

The game is likely to have come under the jurisdiction of the ECB, which is also investigating and "liaising with the ICC as appropriate".

A statement from Amir's lawyers read: "Mr Amir is in England for one reason only, to work with his lawyers in relation to the case he faces.

"Last Saturday he was given the chance of joining in part of a game with a village cricket team as a way of keeping in practice. He was assured by the team that they had asked their league if he was permitted to play with them and had been told that he was.

"He did not stay for the whole match. He has been at all times anxious not to violate his ban. He has seen today's news reports with alarm.

"He is making contact directly through his lawyers with the ICC."

Addington 1743 also issued a statement, saying: "We are a village team self-funded by the players. We have no official umpires [the players umpire the games themselves]. We knew that Amir was keen to get fit.

"We invited him to join us in order for him to get some practice. He did not stay for the whole game. Amir did not think that he was breaching his ban, nor did the club.

"We asked the league whether he could play and we were told that he could. Amir was very anxious not to violate his ban.

"If there has been any misunderstanding or breach of his ban it has occurred entirely as a result of the assurance that we gave him. If that assurance was mistaken we apologise to everyone."

Amir was sanctioned by the ICC along with Pakistan captain Salman Butt who was given a 10-year ban with five suspended, and team-mate Mohammad Asif who was banned for seven years, two of them suspended.

The trio, along with a fourth man Mazhar Majeed, are due to face trial at Southwark Crown Court in October accused of cheating and conspiracy to obtain and accept corrupt payments.

They deny the charges.