InDaily InDaily

Support independent Journalism Donate Subscribe
Support independent journalism


Convicted match-fixer, looming top-order threat... and just another player


Many words have been used to described Pakistan paceman Mohammad Amir, but “just another player” appears to be the catchcry Australia will stick with.

Comments Print article

Amir was one of three Pakistan cricketers embroiled in a 2010 spot-fixing scandal, when at age 18 he deliberately bowled a series of no-balls in a Test at the request of captain Salman Butt.

He spent three months in prison and was banned from cricket for five years.

The comeback of the swing specialist, who looms as the tourists’ most potent weapon in the day-night Test that starts at the Gabba on Thursday, has been far from seamless.

Teammates Azhar Ali and Mohammed Hafeez boycotted a training camp last year because of Amir’s presence, while New Zealand crowds taunted him earlier this year.

Amir’s quest for redemption, guaranteed to be retold throughout Australia this month, is divisive.

Some past players including Mitchell Johnson suggest the left-armer deserves sympathy, because he was a teenager coerced by a captain.

Others, including Ian Healy and former England skipper Andrew Flintoff, wanted harsher sentences after the scandal.

Mitchell Starc was unwilling to shed any light on where he sits.

“He’s playing Test cricket. He’s another player in their team and we’ll address him in the team meeting. That’s all that needs to be said I think,” Starc said in Brisbane.

“To be honest, not at all,” Australia’s spearhead added, when asked if he’d read up on Amir’s story.

It is a situation Steve Smith’s side dealt with earlier this year, when they came up against Amir in the pool stage of the World Twenty20.

On that occasion, both Smith and David Warner referred to the spot-fixer as “just another player” in the lead-up.

“What is done in the past is in the past. We’re not going to try and go out there and get under his skin for something that’s probably not warranted,” Warner said at the time.

“They’ve accepted him back in the team and you have to accept that.”

Pakistan's Mohammad Amir successfully appealing for the wicket of Kevin Pietersen at Lord's in 2010. Subsequent match-fixing revelations saw Amir suspended until this week - and Pietersen doesn't want to see him return. Photo: Gareth Copley, PA Wire.

Amir successfully appealing for the wicket of Kevin Pietersen at Lord’s in 2010, during the tour that saw him jailed and banned. Photo: Gareth Copley / PA Wire

Amir is expected to be a handful with the pink ball at the Gabba and that was the case in Cairns last week, when he generated plenty of unplayable swing in a tour game.

The highlight was a 12-ball spell at night that featured three wickets.

“He’s got great skills, everyone in world cricket knows that,” Starc said of the left-armer.

“We’re going to have to discuss him in our team meeting and the guys who have faced him in the past can speak up and we’ll see what little things they’ve picked up but he’s just another one of their players.”


Make a comment View comment guidelines

Local News Matters

Media diversity is under threat in Australia – nowhere more so than in South Australia. The state needs more than one voice to guide it forward and you can help with a donation of any size to InDaily. Your contribution goes directly to helping our journalists uncover the facts. Please click below to help InDaily continue to uncover the facts.

Donate today
Powered by PressPatron


Show comments Hide comments
Will my comment be published? Read the guidelines.

More Cricket stories

Loading next article