Mohammad Amir gets UK visa, set to play Test against England
Mohammad Amir is set to make his comeback to Test cricket in England after he was granted a visa by English immigration authorities, according to Geo News. Earlier, the left-armer had forced his way back to the Test side on the back of some stellar performances in limited overs cricket in the past 12 months. However, doubts hovered around his comeback as there were rumors that the Pakistani could have been denied visa by England on the grounds of his conviction in the spot-fixing controversy when Pakistan toured the country in 2010.
The news comes as a relief for Pakistan cricket as they are pinning their hopes on the 24-year-old to make most of the swinging conditions in England. Amir picked up 30 wickets in the six Tests that he played in 2010, two against Australia and another four against England.
However, the left-armer’s meteoric rise was cut short when he, along with his captain Salman Butt and bowling partner Mohammad Asif, were convicted of spot-fixing in the Test matches against England.
The cricketing community was shocked when it came to light that the bowlers had underperformed under the instructions of their captain for cash and gifts.The trial that ensued thereafter concluded by handing Amir a five-year ban, Asif a seven-year ban and Butt a ten-year ban from all forms of cricket. The bowler pleaded guilty to spot-fixing charges and was required to spend six months in a juvenile offenders' institute for his role in the scandal.
It is believed that the Pakistan Cricket Board sent a separate application for Amir from the rest of the players to the British High Commission in Islamabad citing support from the ECB and the ICC.
Amir’s rehabilitation of cricket has found support from most corners. Earlier English paceman Stuart Broad had rubbished concerns that English players won’t be welcoming towards the tainted cricketer, “I don’t think any ill-feeling or negativity from the players will have carried through. The crowd might be a different story,” said Broad. “I don’t think any feelings will be dragged into this Test match from that Test match – I think only three or four players are playing in the England team now who were then and they [Pakistan] have had a huge changeover.
Pakistan are visiting England for the first time since 2010 and will play three tests and five ODIs along with a solitary T20I. Pakistan will then head to Ireland to face the Irish team in two ODIs.
Apart from Amir, wrist spinner Yasir Shah will also be making a comeback to the side after he was provisionally suspended by the ICC for testing positive for a banned substance, chlortalidone. He was handed a three-month suspension after he pleaded guilty to breaching the code.