Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Cook: Banned Bowler to Get Hostile Reception

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Cook: Banned Bowler to Get Hostile Reception

Article excerpt

ENGLAND captain Alastair Cook is expecting fans to give a hostile reception to Pakistan fast-bowler Mohammed Amir when he takes to the pitch at Lord's for the first Test of the forthcoming series.

Amir is set to make his Test comeback at the home of cricket, the venue where his bowling of deliberate no-balls during the 2010 tour of England earned him a five-year ban after pleaded guilty to spot-fixing.

The left-arm seamer has only featured in the game's shorter formats since returning to international action in January, but is in line for a Test return, with Pakistan captain Misbah-ul-Haq backing Amir to become the best bowler in the world.

Cook, who has long been outspoken against spot-fixers and the length of their bans, feels the 24-year-old will have to deal with the crowd voicing their opinions when play gets under way on July 14.

"I'm sure there will be a reaction and that is right," said Cook.

"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.

"There is always a sideshow and a story running in the media. Whatever Test match you are playing in, there is always something off the field, whether it is political or something like this.

"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."

Cook has again called on cheats to be hit with lifelong bans, but believes it is only right Amir is allowed to attempt to rebuild what was a promising Test career.

"It was very different then - match-fixers didn't get caught," he said.

"That was the first big one in England, we had others, but this was the first in the modern era.

"Whether I agreed or disagreed with the punishment, he got it, served his time and he is absolutely right to come back. …

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