Former England skippers unite in support of Mohammad Amir after Graeme Swann remarks
Mike Atherton and Nasser Hussain, former skippers of the England national team and now popular cricket commentators, have come out in support of Pakistan speedster Mohammad Amir saying that the pacer has paid enough for his role in the 2010 spot-fixing scandal. The duo’s remarks came after scathing remarks by yet another former England international Graeme Swann who felt that Amir should have been banned for life.
Speaking to Sky Sports last week, Atherton had said that Amir had got the deserved punishment after being banned for five years by the ICC for deliberately bowling no-balls during the Lord’s Test in 2010.
"First of all, he made a bad mistake and he deserved some punishment, there is no getting away from that," Atherton told Sky Sports. "Five years out of the game and going to jail is a pretty heavy punishment - I think it was a six-month sentence of which he served three. But I do think there were some mitigating factors and that's why I've had some sympathy for him and why I believe he deserves a second chance."
In the wake of Swann’s comments, Atherton reiterated his stance that Amir should be allowed to get on with his life. The 48-year-old was speaking at a press conference ahead of England’s upcoming Test series against Pakistan.
"I did have sympathy for the situation he found himself in," Atherton said. “He has served his time, I hope he gets a good reception. I think he deserves a chance to move on with his life rather than looking backwards."
Hussain agrees with Atherton’s viewpoint
Atherton’s colleague in the commentary box, Nasser Hussain, also agreed with his former skipper saying that though the English crowd will make life as tough as possible for the Pakistan left-armer, he believes Amir will remain the biggest threat from the visiting side.
“They (Pakistan) have very good left-armers in their attack, particularly Mohammad Amir,” Hussain said. "It will be very tough for Amir, he will get booed and have 'no-ball' shouted at him, but that comes with the mistake he made. He is a very fine cricketer, though - swings it late and at pace, and will get wickets in the series.”
"He is part a very strong Pakistan attack, and they've obviously got the added threat of the legspinner, Yasir Shah, as well. The key for them is going to be getting runs; if their top order can get runs then they have got a chance in the series,” he added.