Pakistan's Aamer back home

2012-02-26 13:35
Mohammad Aamer (File)

Lahore - Disgraced Pakistan cricketer Mohammad Aamer returned home early on Sunday after his release from a British prison, an AFP reporter said.

Aamer was one of three Pakistan players jailed by a judge in London in November over their roles in a plan to bowl deliberate no-balls during a Test against England at Lord's in August 2010.

The 19-year-old who is also serving a five-year ban imposed by the International Cricket Council (ICC), was released from Portland Prison in Dorset, south-west England on February 1.

Aamer arrived at Lahore airport from London at 4:35 am local time (2300 GMT) and headed straight for his home in the Defence Housing Authority neighbourhood without speaking to media, an AFP reporter said.

Aamer's family members also refused to speak to media. Television footage showed Aamer sitting in a white car as the vehicle entered his residence.

His mentor Asif Bajwa said the teenager had made a mistake and served his term, but was now focused on returning to the sport.

"He is in high spirits and I will meet him later Sunday and will decide the future course of action, but he is keen to return to cricket," Bajwa told AFP.

Bajwa said they would concentrate on rebuilding his tarnished image.

"Everyone deserves a second chance and I have met a lot of people who believe that Aamer should be given another chance," said Bajwa.

Bajwa said he was unsure whether Aamer would file an appeal against the ICC ban in the Court of Arbitration for Sports, based in Switzerland, but they had hired a solicitor to help them decide.

Pakistan Cricket Board's chief operating officer Subhan Ahmed told AFP the PCB would start Aamer's rehabilitation "very soon".

Former Pakistan Test captain Salman Butt was also sentenced to two and a half years for being the "orchestrator" of the scam, while seamer Mohammad Asif received a 12-month prison term for bowling a fraudulent no-ball.

The London-based sports agent Mazhar Majeed who organised the scam was jailed for two years and eight months.

Last month, Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chairman Zaka Ashraf held out the prospect of Aamer returning to international cricket once his jail term and ICC ban had been completed.

Before the scandal, left-arm paceman Aamer had made a huge impact with his on-field performances. He took 51 wickets in 14 Tests, including seven at Leeds in 2010 as Pakistan beat Australia for the first time in 15 years.

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