Alastair Cook expects a tough ride for Mohammad Amir in England
England’s most prolific Test run-scorer and the captain of the English Test side, Alastair Cook, has said that the visiting Pakistani pacer, Mohammad Amir may face a harsh reaction from the fans. Pakistan would be visiting England to play a 4-Test series, with the first Test set to begin at Lord’s on July 14, the same venue where Amir was found guilty of spot-fixing and had faced a five-year ban thereafter, in 2010. Incidentally, it was also the last time that Pakistan toured England, and the 2016 tour will be the Asian nation’s first tour to Britain since then.
The then 17-year-old left arm fast bowler’s career had come to an astonishing halt when during the Lord’s Test between the two sides in 2010, Amir, along with his former team-mates, Mohammad Asif and Salman Butt, were found guilty of accepting money in lieu of deliberate acts of fixing the Test match. Amir and Asif were accused of bowling deliberate no-balls at the instructions of the then captain, Butt. After the expiry of the five-year ban last year, Amir was allowed to return to competitive cricket, and has, since then, participated in Pakistan’s limited-overs tour of New Zealand, the Asia Cup T20 and the ICC World T20 2016.
“I'm sure there will be a reaction and that is right. That is part and parcel, that when you do something like that there are more consequences than just the punishment -- that is something for him to cope with, whatever comes his way,” said Cook, speaking at a sponsor’s event. The English captain, who had also participated in the controversial Lord’s Test, quipped, “It won't affect us as a side, we will concentrate on what we can concentrate on. The media will ask questions about it but it will not affect us.”
However, Cook still chose to stand by his opinion of match-fixers being banned for life, which he had said earlier last month. Nevertheless, he admitted that he had no problems with playing against Amir. “Whether I agreed or disagreed with the punishment, he got it, served his time and he is absolutely right to come back,” said the 31-year-old.
“You'd have to speak to him. What he did wasn't good, but he served his punishment then. It hasn't happened and the ICC (International Cricket Council) haven't made any big statements, but if I was in charge if you got caught once that would be it - one strike and you're out.”