London, July 10: Former England spinner Graeme Swann has hit out at Pakistan pacer Mohammad Amir, saying that the latter who was earlier involved in a spot-fixing scandal should have been banned from the sport to protect the integrity of the game and help inspire youngsters.
Amir will make his return to Test cricket for Pakistan against England at the Lords’ on Thursday.
The left-arm pacer will return to the scene of his crime next week, almost six years after he deliberately bowled no balls at the same venue during a Test in 2010.
The 37-year-old, who was part of England’s playing XI in that Test, on Friday said it is a mistake that Amir is even allowed to return to Test cricket at all.
“Mohammad Amir will walk out on the green and glorious turf at Lord’s on Thursday – and it will make me feel sick,” Swann was quoted as saying by The Sun.
“This is a man who crushed the morality of the game.
“And yet he is being allowed back to play at the Home of Cricket. Amir should have been banned for life for his part in the corruption scandal of 2010.”
“If you want to protect the integrity of the game, help cricket grow and inspire youngsters, there can be no place for corrupt players. You must have proper deterrents,” Swann added.
Pakistan captain Misbah-ul-Haq is confident that Amir can make a successful return to Test cricket and that the left-arm quick has the full support of his team-mates.
“Everyone has their opinion but now he is back everyone is supporting him and the whole team is there. Honestly speaking I don’t care about these things. I’m just focused on what is going on in the middle. I have to focus on that and how he bowls and how he performs,” Misbah said.
“He has the best chance to prove himself in the middle, not to worry about spectators saying something, never listen to them and focus on what is going on,” the Pakistan skipper added.
England counterpart Alastair Cook said Amir will receive a hostile reception from the Lord’s crowd, but is hoping that the action out on the field will provide the main talking points.
“I don’t think I have got the power (to control crowd reaction). I think people pay good money to watch cricket and have an opinion on what they want to do. One thing we can hope for this series is that the cricket is what we all talk about,” Cook said.
“That is what we all want – we are talking about two good sides and they seem very united and we are going to have a really good Test series,” the England skipper added.