Events that happened around the Lord's Test of 2010 and after it

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Lord’s Test
Kevin Pietersen caught by Kamran Akmal off Mohammad Amir for 0, Lord’s, August 2010. (Photo by Patrick Eagar/Patrick Eagar Collection via Getty Images)

Life has come a long way for young Mohammad Amir and he will feel it has completed a one full circle when he walks out to take field at the Lord’s Cricket Ground tomorrow in the first Test against England. He will definitely have flashbacks of the Lord’s Test he played six years ago and that would certainly keep his feet behind the line.

The entire build up of the England vs Pakistan Test series has been about Amir making his comeback and how difficult it would be for him. Should he be allowed to play? Different individuals have expressed different opinions but the fact remains that he completed the sentence term and as per the laws has every right to make a comeback. Though cricket has always been more than the written code and it is about playing with the spirit of the game, maintaining the gentlemanliness that has always been associated and glorified about cricket.

With so much talk about it, we decided to pick all the bits and pieces of the spot-fixing scandal that hit the game hard in 2010 and figure out what and how things panned out.

It was the 4th and final Test match of the series. Most of Pakistan players had their own plans and aspirations in place to make sure the team wins the Test and with that level the series which was tilted in England’s favor 2-1 after the first three Tests. But amidst all that, three of the Pakistan players skipper Salman Butt, the world no. 2 ranked bowler at that time Mohammad Asif and young sensation Mohammad Amir had different plans.

Also read – Pakistan’s Test wins in England

The trio had agreed to underperform in the match against a certain sum of money. A bookmaker was videotaped by a British news agency and after being paid a hefty sum told the reporter that he had fixed spots in the game with three Pakistan players to underperform during the match.

To makes sure there was a backing to his claim he said that Amir would be bowling the third over in the Test and that the first ball of the over would be a no ball. Amir did bowl the third over, and the first ball was actually a no ball. Commentary from the game reads, “Over 2.1 – Mohammad Amir to Cook, 1 no ball, no-ball this time from Amir, rare from him, the delivery was pretty decent though, swinging away a fraction. Yikes, on replay that was an enormous no-ball, good half a metre over the line.” The Bookmaker had also predicted that the last ball of the 10th over would be a no ball. Mohammad Asif was the bowler and it was indeed a no ball.

In all Amir, bowled a total of four no balls while Asif bowled two in the only innings that England batted in the Lord’s Test. Mazhar Majeed was identified as the bookmaker and according to him the spots that he had fixed would help those betting on the game make money since they had inside information about the same. He claimed to have paid Asif £65,000, Butt £10,000 and Amir £2,500.

As soon as the scandal broke out the Scotland Yard police nabbed Majeed and the International Cricket Council (ICC) also came into action and suspended the three players who were named and ruled that they “had an arguable case to answer”. The players and Pakistan team management denied accepting the charges and said that the entire scene looked set-up.

Also read – SWOT Analysis of Pakistan’s fast bowling attack for the tour of England

The Scotland Yard police began its investigation and so did the Anti Corruption and Security Unit (ASCU) of the ICC. Butt, Asif and Amir filed a review plea with the ICC to lift the suspension since they wanted to make a swift comeback to international cricket and get over this controversy. In January 2011 the ICC set up a special that comprised of Michael Beloff, Albie Sachs and Sharad Rao. All the three had previous experience of hearing sporting trials. Reporters of the News of the World that broke the news also featured in the case.

5th February was determined the date for the verdict after the hearing and ICC sanctioned a ban on the trio. Salman Butt was banned for 10 years, Mohammad Asif for 7 years and Mohammad Amir for 5 years while the first five years for Butt and two years for Asif would count as suspension. Meanwhile, the police also carried out a criminal investigation in the case. They also arrest a few other individuals on charges of money laundering in relation to the case.

Scotland Yard and the Crown Prosecution Service completed their investigation and on 1 November 2011, the Southwark Crown Court pronounced Mazhar Majeed, Salma Butt, Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Amir guilty of conspiracy to cheat at gambling and conspiracy to accept corrupt payments. Two days later on the 3rd of November, it announced jail terms – 2 years and 8 months for Majeed, 30 months for Butt, 1 year for Asif and 6 months for Amir. Both Amir and Majeed had accepted their guilt before the court and thus their punishments were scaled down.

The three cricketers served the jail term in the UK and the suspension and ban as well. Amir completed his 5-year ban and made a successful comeback in Pakistan’s domestic circuit. Though he hadn’t played for the last five years still had the zeal in his bowling alive and impressed everyone with the way he bowled. In January 2016 he was included in the national squad for the tour of New Zealand and has been a constant part of the team since then.

The left-arm pacer was instrumental in the Pakistan team’s journey in the Asia Cup T20 as well as the World T20 2016, though the team performance didn’t have much to talk about Amir was exceptional and here he is today on the edge of making his Test comeback almost six years after the most regretful day of his life.

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