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Cricket: Amir’s return good for the sport, says Richardson

International Cricket Council’s (ICC) chief executive officer David Richardson expects Pakistani pacer Mohammad Amir to tour England next month, saying that the former spot-fixing accused returning is a ‘good thing’ for the sport.

Mohammad Amir

Amir, 24, featured in two one-day internationals against New Zealand in January 2016 and the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) have approached their English counterparts for help in securing a visa for the bowler.

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 being given jail sentences and subsequent by an English court and the ICC respectively.

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 September.

“I always think you get handed out your punishment, you serve it and then who are we to say ‘never again?’,” Richardson told AFP 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.

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