London - International Cricket Council
chief executive David Richardson expects Pakistan quick bowler Mohammad Amir to
tour England next month, saying the former spot-fixer's return is a "good
thing" for the sport.
Amir, 24, featured in two one-day
internationals against New Zealand in January and the Pakistan Cricket Board
have approached their English counterparts for help in securing a visa for the
He was given a six-month prison sentence,
of which he served half in a UK young offenders' institute, on charges of
conspiracy to accept corrupt payments and conspiracy to cheat at gambling after
bowling deliberate no-balls during the Lord's Test in August 2010.
The same spot-fixing scandal also saw
fellow paceman Mohammad Asif and then Pakistan Test captain Salman Butt given
jail sentences by an English court and bans by the ICC.
Although now cleared to play again by the
ICC, Amir's criminal conviction could see him denied an entry visa to Britain
for Pakistan's tour of England, where they will play four Tests - the first at
Lord's - five one-day internationals and a Twenty20 between July and
"I always think you get handed out
your punishment, you serve it and then who are we to say 'never again?',"
Richardson said in an interview at The Oval in south London on Wednesday
following the launch of the 2017 ICC Champions Trophy one-day tournament.
"He (Amir) has certainly shown a
willingness to make sure he sets an example now by asking younger players to
learn from his mistakes.
"Certainly, I think it's a good thing
that he's back playing," the 56-year-old added.
"I'd be surprised if he (Amir) doesn't
end up coming (to England)."
If Amir does make the tour, he could be
bowling to England captain Alastair Cook.
This week saw the 31-year-old Cook become
the youngest player to score 10 000 Test runs when he reached the landmark in a
series-clinching win over Sri Lanka at the Riverside.
Cook's method of patient accumulation is at
odds with the modern-day trend for big-hitting exemplified by the likes of West
Indies' Chris Gayle, Australia's David Warner and recently-retired former New
Zealand captain Brendon McCullum.
But Richardson said left-handed opener
Cook's approach was none the worse for that.
"I like the fact he's not in the
Gayle, Warner or McCullum mould," explained Richardson.
"He's a more traditional opening
batsman, as we've known them to be."
The former South Africa wicket-keeper
added: "It's a good example to young cricketers that you don't have to hit
every second ball out of the park to be successful."
But while Test cricket remains
well-regarded in England and Australia, it is struggling to maintain interest
elsewhere in the world, with some players opting to take part in lucrative
domestic Twenty20 events instead.
The ICC cricket committee, who are meeting
at Lord's this week, are looking at introducing two divisions into Test cricket
as a way of reviving interest.
More day/night Tests, following the success
of the Australia-New Zealand clash at the Adelaide Oval in November, are also
on the agenda.
However, any changes will have to be
approved by the full ICC board.
Richardson cited a renewed understanding by
Test nations to provide fixtures with "context" if the "primacy
of international cricket is going to be sustained well into the future".
He added: "If we want to make sure the
best players are playing international cricket, we have to make sure that our
members are in a position to reward and incentivise their players to play all
"That boils down to a funding model
that provides the members with the means to do just that.
"The board is looking at the funding
model of the ICC, hopefully making teams less reliant on (lucrative) Indian
tours and creating a model that not only allows their players to earn a lot of
money playing in domestic T20 leagues, but also to play for their country and
be well rewarded."
As for day/night Tests, Richardson said:
"I think they are very good for the game.
"It would make sense to play cricket
at times when people can afford to go and watch."