Mohammad Amir is poised to make his return to Test cricket at Lord’s next month, scene of the 2010 spot-fixing scandal, after reportedly being granted a UK visa for Pakistan’s tour of England this summer.
The 24-year-old left-armer, who was banned from playing for five years and served four weeks of a six-month sentence in a young offenders’ institute after bowling no-balls to order, made his international comeback in January.
Amir, who has played only limited‑overs matches since his suspension expired and featured at the World Twenty20 in India in March, was named in the squad to travel to England on Sunday, with his selection subject to approval from the British government.
Two-and-a-half weeks after his visa application was submitted to the UK High Commission in Islamabad, this has now been confirmed, according to Geo News in Pakistan, with the fast bowler now poised to face England in the first Test at Lord’s on 14 July.
While Salman Butt and Mohammad Asif, the two other players banned for their roles in the scam, have not played international cricket since the fateful fourth Test with England six years ago, Amir remains central to Pakistan’s plans and the international cricket community keen to continue his rehabilitation.
The England and Wales Cricket Board supported his visa application and, speaking on Monday, the fast bowler Stuart Broad said he and his team-mates would hold no grudge, even if he could not guarantee that supporters will feel the same way. “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.
“He’s served his time and the ICC have got their guidelines to what the punishments are for certain crimes and people have their opinion on that. I’ve not played him for six years but in 2010 he was a constant threat and he was man of the series. It swung round corners for him.”
Broad’s solitary international hundred came during the 2010 Lord’s Test with an innings of 169, a feat overshadowed when, on the final morning of the match, news broke of Butt, Amir and Asif being involved in a plot to bowl no-balls for money in a sting operation by the now defunct News of the World.
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