New Delhi: The 5-year ban on Pakistani bowler Mohammad Amir may be extended by the ICC after he was caught playing league cricket over the weekend, according to a report in The Daily Mail.
Amir, who was found guilty of spot-fixing in a Test match vs England last August, claimed he had been told that the game was a friendly and would not affect his ban which prevents him from playing cricket at any level for 5 years.
"It is understood Amir - who, along with Mohammad Asif and Salman Butt, faces a criminal hearing at Southwark Crown Court in October over charges relating to cheating and conspiracy to obtain corrupt payments - was on friendly terms with three of Addington’s players," the Daily Mail reported on Thursday.
According to the report, one of the Addington players had contacted Surrey League officials before the match to check eligibility rules. The rules state that a cricketer is ineligible to play if ‘during the current season he has played first or second XI county cricket or in the minor counties’ - criteria that, for obvious reasons, do not apply to Amir.
But Sportsmail had learnt that Amir's name might not have been mentioned in the conversation and there was little doubt league officials would have ruled out the bowler’s participation had they known who they were dealing with.
"I was informed by club representatives before the game that it was a friendly match, being played on a privately owned cricket ground. I asked the club representatives if the match fell under the jurisdiction of ECB and they informed me that the match did not," Amir said in defense.
"I spoke to several club representatives about the issue and they all told me that it was a friendly match and therefore would not contravene my ban from the ICC. I was informed that I was fine to play," he reasoned.
Meanwhile, the ICC had launched an investigation. "We are investigating and awaiting the details. If true, it is clearly a breach of the sanction imposed in February. The ban is absolutely worldwide covering all levels and any activities connected with cricket. What might happen next is a hypothetical question at this stage," ICC spokesman Colin Gibson was quoted as saying by the 'Daily Mail'.
On the other hand, the ECB has also sought clarification from the ICC on the terms and conditions of the sanction imposed on him for involvement in spot-fixing.
The ECB said it was ‘investigating and liaising with the ICC as appropriate’.