Despite it being five years since the incident, many people still remember the Pakistan cricket spot-fixing scandal. This occurred when certain members of the Pakistan national cricket team took bribes from bookmaker Mazhar Majeed, which caused them to purposely perform badly at key moments in the test match at Lord's Cricket Ground back in 2010. This was done so that gamblers who were making bets on the match would have inside information to favor their chances, making money from the bribe.
The scandal revolved around players Precocious Amir and Mohammad Asif who each received a five year ban from the sport, but now they are able to return to the cricket scene. Although the ban has been lifted, it doesn't mean that these players are going to have an easy time coming back onto the scene. There is a lot of public hostility floating around and their age may start becoming a hindrance to their careers.
The Pakistan Cricket Board announced that the players will each need to start up their careers from scratch at the club level. The PCB has created a six month road map for the pair that they must complete before they can enter into a first class competition. During this period they must play club and grade-two cricket until the six month limit is lifted. Along with this punishment, both players must offer lectures to domestic players about fixing to help prevent further issues in the future.
Age is looked at as a big issue for Asif and Amir. Asif is now 32, which is well beyond the typically accepted peak years for pace bowlers.
Widespread sympathy was given out at the time of Amir's ban, who was an 18 year old prodigy and the youngest player in cricket history to take 50 Test wickets. The PCB did relax their ban six months early, which allowed for Amir to play in domestic matches starting earlier in April of this year. During this time he managed to take an exceptional 22 wickets during four two-grade matches and is going to be a featured player in the National Twenty20 tournament that will begin Tuesday.
Pakistan moved on after the bans of these two players and managed to obtain a record 18 Test wins including a series over England and Australia. Many current players are against the return of the former Pakistan national stars and even left the practice area when Amir had begun bowling in nets at the national academy last week.
“I am not looking for international cricket so soon. I have to work on my fitness and perform consistently then only I can expect to play at the top level,” Amir explained when questioned about his return. He is looking to make his comeback in the World Twenty20 coming up in March that will be located in India.
Amir and Asif have a long ways to go and many challenges ahead of them in order to recover, but both players are looking hopeful and plan on slowly making their way back into the cricket scene.