Asif Bajwa, who helped mould Mohammad Amir into a top left-arm paceman, is confident the ICC will review the five-year ban for spot-fixing.
Mohammad Amir's mentor confident ICC will review five-year ban
ISLAMABAD // Mohammad Amir's mentor urged the International Cricket Council (ICC) on Thursday to review the fast bowler's five-year ban for spot-fixing.
Asif Bajwa, who helped mould Amir from a village bowler into a world class left-arm paceman, said the 19 year old had admitted his mistake and should not be deprived of cricket until 2015.
Amir blamed the former captain Salman Butt for manipulating him into bowling two deliberate no-balls against England that led to his playing ban and three months in jail.
In an interview last week, Amir said he had been receiving great support from his family and "especially my sir [Bajwa]".
Amir will still only be 23 when his ban expires, but Bajwa wants to see his student back in international cricket by next year.
"Five years is too long a period," Bajwa said. "He is not going into an appeal in the Court of Arbitration for Sport, he has admitted his mistake and he has already served nearly two years of his punishment.
"I am quite confident that ICC will review its decision of a five-year ban."
However, Haroon Lorgat, the ICC chief executive, said that Amir should focus on his rehabilitation, not on reducing the ban.
"Part of the sanction he received from the ICC tribunal was to educate himself and for him to educate others," Lorgat told ESPN CricInfo. "So let us do all the necessary building blocks before we get to a point where anyone could ask, 'Does he now deserve a review?"'
Zaka Ashraf, the Pakistan Cricket Board chairman, has promised to conduct a rehabilitation programme for Amir. The five-year ban will run until September 2015.
Bajwa spotted Amir as an 11 year old boy in a village nearly 15 kilometres from Rawalpindi - a city where the former Test fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar learned his cricket.
Amir said he regarded Bajwa as "a father".
"I respect him and always will for playing a huge role in my life," he said. "I will never forget this and even now in this difficult period when lots of people desert you, he has continued to support me from the first day until now in exactly the same way as before."
Amir stayed in Bajwa's cricket academy for nearly five years before he was selected in Pakistan's Under 19 team.
While some former Test cricketers in Pakistan have questioned Amir's allegations against Butt, the fast bowler got support from India's former Test captain Rahul Dravid.
"Amir's is a superb player and when he has served his ban, I'd hope he'd be able to come back," Dravid said.
"We all want him to come back at some stage and I don't know whether that's ... it's going to be a challenge. I hope he can do it; it would be great if he can."