Pakistan: Mohammad Amir's five-year spot-fixing ban ends early

Mohammad Amir
Mohammad Amir played in 22 Tests for Pakistan prior to his ban

Pakistan fast bowler Mohammad Amir has been cleared to return early from his five-year ban for spot-fixing.

Left-armer Amir, 22, was jailed for six months and banned from all cricket for his part in a spot-fixing scam during Pakistan's tour of England in 2010.

He delivered pre-arranged no balls at Lord's in a plot that also saw Mohammad Asif and captain Salman Butt banned.

Amir's ban was due to expire on 2 September, 2015 but he has been cleared to play domestic cricket in Pakistan.

"It's a new life for me and you will see not only Mohammad Amir as a better cricketer but also a better human being," he said.

The International Cricket Council (ICC), the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) and Sir Ronnie Flanagan, the head of the ICC's Anti-Corruption and Security Unit (Acsu), approved Amir's domestic return.

Salman Butt, Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Amir
Salman Butt, Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Amir were handed bans in February 2011

An ICC statement read: "Sir Ronnie Flanagan, with the prior approval of the ICC board and the Pakistan Cricket Board, has exercised his discretion to allow Mohammad Amir to return to domestic cricket played under the auspices of the Pakistan Cricket Board with immediate effect."

It added that Flanagan "was satisfied" that Amir had:

  • Co-operated with the Acsu by fully disclosing his part in the matters that led to his disqualification
  • Admitted his guilt and showed remorse
  • Co-operated with the unit's ongoing investigations
  • Helped alert fellow cricketers to the dangers of fixing by recording messages for education sessions

Before his suspension Amir took 51 wickets in 14 Test matches at an average of 29.09, and 25 wickets in 15 one-day internationals at an average of 24.

Tony Irish, head of the Federation of International Cricketers' Associations:
"I think that this is an unfortunate stigma that will hang over his head, probably forever, but there's also quite a lot of sympathy for his particular situation. "I think it all remains to be seen how he'll rise from this, whether he'll be able to return to the kind of performer that he was on the cricket field before this all happened."

In the aftermath of the spot-fixing scandal, Amir, who was 18 at the time of the incident, separated himself from his co-conspirators by admitting his guilt and showing remorse.

Fellow paceman Asif and skipper Butt repeatedly fought charges before being found guilty at Southwark Crown Court.

The latter pair were also jailed, with Asif banned from cricket for seven years (two suspended) and Butt 10 years (five suspended).

Mohammad Amir timeline
26 August 2010: Pakistan start Test match against England at Lord's
28 August: Newspaper makes spot-fixing allegations against some Pakistan players
29 August: Police speak to Amir, Butt and Asif
February 2011: ICC hand lengthy playing bans to trio
November 2011: Trio found guilty in court and given prison sentences
February 2012: Amir released from jail after serving three months of a six-month sentence
October 2013: ICC announce plans to review Amir's five-year ban
28 January 2015: Amir cleared to play domestic cricket in Pakistan