Rahul Dravid hopes for Mohammad Amir's comeback

Former India skipper Rahul Dravid has said that a comeback from banned Pakistan pacer Mohammad Amir would be great.

Updated: March 21, 2012 12:21 IST
  • Total Shares

New Delhi: Former India skipper Rahul Dravid has said that a comeback from banned Pakistan pacer Mohammad Amir would be great.

Speaking to the BBC, Dravid said: "He's a superb player and when he's served his ban, I'd hope he'd be able to come back."

Amir has been banned for five years for his alleged involvement in spot-fixing.

Dravid, who announced his retirement recently, said that it is difficult for a cricketer to stay away from the game for long. ""It's not easy to stay away from the game for so long, to not play it, and be able to come back," he said.

"It was difficult on everybody across the world who saw such a young talent, and unfortunately he made a few mistakes. 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," Dravid added.

The 19-year-old fast bowler, who was released from prison in February after serving half of his six month sentence, has blamed his ex-captain Salman Butt for getting him involved.

In an interview with former cricketer-turned-journalist Michael Atherton on Sky Sports, Amir said: "I was so angry with Salman. He took advantage of my friendship. And I used to respect him like an elder brother."

"I ask everyone to forgive me. I messed up… Thanks to Allah I have taught myself to distinguish between right and wrong. I have never done anything wrong. I was manipulated," he added.

Amir was full of remorse during an hour-long interview that will bring the subject of his potential rehabilitation to the fore. He claimed that he bowled two deliberate no-balls in the Lord's Test because Majeed and Butt called him to a car park at the Pakistan team hotel in London and duped him into believing that his phone conversations with an unidentified fixer called Ali, whose name had not been revealed in court, had been recorded by the ICC.

After the calls from Ali, he said that the day before the Lord's Test came the meeting with Butt and Majeed. "I received a call from Mazhar that I should go to the car park…when I got into the lift I bumped into Salman… All of a sudden it was as if someone had launched an attack. He told me that my calls with Ali had been recorded by the ICC. He told me I was trapped… I panicked so much it did not even occur to me how ridiculous it was."

He said he was taken to a car in the car park and that Majeed said, with Butt sitting silently in the back seat, "Do me a favour. Bowl two no-balls for me."

Amir recalled: "I said Bro I'm scared I can't do it. I was churning inside, thinking about it. I cursed myself. I knew I was cheating cricket...Then I did it."

Phone records show that Ali tried to call Amir 40 times during the build-up to the Oval Test as the spot-fixing plot was being hatched: Amir returned the calls twice. However, he did give him his bank details. "I gave him my contact details because he was Salman's friend," he said. "…Twice he asked me if Salman had had a word with me. I was thinking what does he want from me? Let's try to figure it out."

Amir's rendition suggests that the spot-fixing plot was more sophisticated than previously thought. He claimed that Butt, who he knew as an "elder brother," had first brought up the subject of rigging matches for financial gain during the early stages of the tour. "He was smiling and laughing," Amir said. "I didn't take it seriously. I said no bro. I said to him this is forbidden, leave it."

However, Salman Butt's father has accused Amir of lying. "Amir on record said before the ICC tribunal that Butt did not ask him to bowl no-balls and then before the UK court last year he said the same, so was he lying then or now? I definitely think he is lying now," Zulfiqar told AFP.

For the latest Cricket news , Score, like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter and get the NDTV Cricket app for Android or iOS

Leave a comment