Spot fixing case: England veterans hope ICC is lenient with Mohammad Aamer

September 5th, 2010 - 1:46 pm ICT by ANI  

London, Sep.5 (ANI): Former England cricket captain Michael Atherton has said that there is an air of disbelief and shock in veteran cricketer circles about young Pakistan fast bowler Mohammad Aamer being one of the accused in the latest spot fixing scandal to hit world cricket.

In an article for the News of The World (NOTW), Atherton recalled that when the news of the spot fixing first surfaced last Sunday, the commentary box, which is normally a place of fun and laughter, went quiet as a church congregation during a sermon.”Michael Holding, one of the greatest bowlers to have ever played the game, and a man from whom integrity seeps out of every pore, sat throughout the morning with his head in his hands. He was close to tears,” says Athers.

“Sir Ian Botham, a man who bowled his heart out for his country to the extent that his back is held together now as much by metal as bone, was lost for words,” he adds.”Nasser Hussain, who I once saw walking around the team hotel in Sri Lanka in the early hours of the morning before a Test match unable to sleep, so worried was he about his form, spoke for us all when he said, ‘Please don’t let it be the kid’.

In the hours and days that followed the News of the World investigation that rocked cricket, it was the kid who was at the forefront of my thoughts, says Atherton.

“I was both angry and sad. Angry because under performing for money is the worst crime any sportsman can commit. It is worse than doping, because the fixer is deliberately trying to under perform, so deceiving the paying public. Angry, too, because if the allegations proved to be correct, it is likely Aamir had been taken advantage of in the most obscene way,” Atherton says.The most horrifying part of last week’s story was when Mazhar Majeed, the middle man, rang Aamir late in the night before the match, called him ‘f****r’ and then told him instructions could wait until the morning,” he adds.”This was a young man in the grip of evil. I was sad because it is likely that, if guilty, the International Cricket Council will show no leniency towards Aamir. Having been criticised for not taking strong enough action during cricket’s last match-fixing crisis, they will be unlikely to show any clemency now,” Atherton says.”Whilst I accept, if guilty, there can be no way back for Salman Butt, the captain, or Mohammad Asif, a cricketer who has enjoyed more lives than a cat, I hope the authorities can find a way to give Aamir a second chance. He is a victim in this episode,” the former England captain says.

He concludes by saying that cricket has become a sport where integrity is in short supply, the inevitable consequence of which is a week such as it has endured just now. (ANI)

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