Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

I DID NOT BREAK MY BAN, SAYS CAUGHT OUT AMIR; PAKISTANI PLEADS INNOCENCE AFTER PLAYING FOR SURREY MINNOWS DESPITE SUSPENSION; Amir: I Didn't Break My Ban by Playing for Surrey Side

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

I DID NOT BREAK MY BAN, SAYS CAUGHT OUT AMIR; PAKISTANI PLEADS INNOCENCE AFTER PLAYING FOR SURREY MINNOWS DESPITE SUSPENSION; Amir: I Didn't Break My Ban by Playing for Surrey Side

Article excerpt

Byline: Tom Collomosse and Henry Swarbrick

MOHAMMAD AMIR today defended himself after apparently flouting the terms of his worldwide suspension from the game by playing for a club team in Surrey.

The Pakistani fast bowler was banned for five years by the International Cricket Council in February following the spot-fixing scandal in the Lord's Test against England last summer, when Amir and Mohammad Asif were alleged to have deliberately bowled no-balls.

Amir seems now to have contravened that suspension by appearing for Addington 1743 Cricket Club in the Surrey Cricket League Division One last Saturday, according to today's Daily Star. The 19-year-old paceman insisted, however, he had made the necessary enquiries and had been told he was allowed to play because it was a friendly -- even though it is listed on Addington's website as a league game.

Amir told the website www.pakpassion.net: "I was informed by club representatives before the game that it was a friendly, being played on a privately owned cricket ground. I asked the club representatives if the match fell under the jurisdiction of the ECB and they informed me the match did not. I spoke to several club representatives about the issue and they all told me it was a friendly and therefore would not contravene my ban from the ICC. I was informed I was fine to play.

"I would not be stupid enough to knowingly play in a match that I knew would contravene my ban. Wherever I am going to play cricket, the world will know about it. I would not be stupid enough to play in a match where I knew that I would be taking a risk."

It seems Amir was able to turn out for Addington, near Croydon, because there is no formal registration procedure for players who wish to compete, meaning there were no prior checks on who was included in the XI for the match against St Luke's CC in New Malden.

The ICC and ECB are now attempting to confirm 100 per cent whether Surrey League Division One represents a high enough level of cricket to meet the terms of Amir's ban, but ICC and ECB sources are confident it does, meaning Amir's suspension could conceivably be extended. …

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