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What they said!

“They got their hooks into him as a baby, at a time when he would have had few confidants in the dressing room, few colleagues he could have gone to for guidance. These men, his team-mates, were meant to look after him; instead they corrupted him, blackened his soul and diminished his talent.
Look at Aamer’s no-ball. It is a joke. It is so exaggerated, so utterly out of keeping with his bowling performance on Friday that it attracted the attention of the television commentators.
Look at Asif’s. Barely over, a small misjudgment, hardly noticeable. To the naked eye, one man looks as if he knows what he is doing, the other hasn’t a clue. If the allegations are correct, both are cheating, but the older man appears better at it; one might even say more practiced.” Martin Samuel – Daily Mail
“When I heard on Saturday night that Pakistan were involved in a match-fixing scandal, I immediately thought two things. The first was: I’m not massively surprised. The second was: please, don’t let it be Mohammad Aamer.When it turned out the lad was involved, it felt hugely disappointing. Mohammad Asif has got himself into scrapes before, but Aamer has been a breath of fresh air all summer. He’s revived the dying art of proper fast bowling and his future looked fantastic. Now it’s been tarnished. Lord’s felt a shallow place to be yesterday.” Nasser Hussain – Daily Mail
“the pain of witnessing a young boy of the most beguiling talent and apparently sunny nature making what might just prove to be his last strides in a theater of sport he had come to command so brilliantly, so quickly.
Assuming that Aamer’s name goes up on the Lord’s honours board after his astonishing haul of five front-line English wickets, and the not inconsiderable scalp of Graeme Swann, last Friday, we can only hope there will be difficulty in explaining to some future generation of cricketers how it was that such talent was banished from the game at such an early age.” James Lawton – The Independent
“To see an 18-year old boy being dragged into the controversy is the worse part. He had the world, everyone was raving about the talent and praising him. It is such a sad moment in cricket.
Amir comes from a humble background. He is 18, with an impressionable mind, and if he has been keeping bad company, it’s possible he could have been drawn [into wrongdoing]. But if that’s the case, then the guys who got him in should be put behind bars because they’ve spoilt a grand career. They’ve infiltrated and spoilt a young mind, and it’s such a shocking state of affairs.” Ramiz Raja – Cricinfo
“I probably feel for him more than anyone because he’s only a young, naive and innocent young guy. Unfortunately he’s caught up with something.
Whether it’s in their culture I don’t know, I don’t know how deep it runs, but it’s unfortunate that someone of his skill has got tied up with something that is damaging to cricket and to the individuals. I found him to be a brilliant competitor on the field.” Shane Watson
“He should not be punished as an example to the rest, as everyone seems to suggest, rather he should be made aware of the issues, educated, rehabilitated and held up as an example of what can be achieved.
Amir’s rehabilitation should be at the heart of the cleansing of Pakistan cricket. The brilliant young bowler is not the cause of the problem but the most tragic consequence of it.” Michael Atherton – The Times
“It was impossible to take one’s eyes off Amir, but for reasons different than those of a couple of days ago, when he was utterly compelling as he glided in and made magic with the ball. Now you watched him walk in with the knowledge that every eye in the stands looked on in judgment. A wan smile tried to hide the storm that surely raged within as he tried to defend his mere wicket with a shadow looming over his honour. The heart ached for the bowler who had captivated us all year. Surely a boy so gifted couldn’t have let his soul be corrupted at such a tender age? It was a relief when Graeme Swann spun a ball past his bat and bowled him. Surely we’d see Amir bowl in a Test match again? The alternative is too depressing to contemplate.” Sambit Bal – Cricinfo Editor
“Yet we ought to understand part of what might drive a young precocious talent such as Amir to such involvement. Pakistan cricketers are poorly paid, with the riches of the subcontinent in India and a world away. Some, such as Amir, come from poor backgrounds. They are celebrated and feted, showered with gifts. Nice gifts might gain trust. A chance remark, a bit of team information, and the hook is in. Such things are not always about money for the player, for those involved in the vast illegal gambling syndicates of the subcontinent and Far East are uncompromisingly evil. Who knows the threats for non-cooperation?” Mike Selvey – The Guardian
“Perhaps the desire for smallish bans simply stems from a need to see Amir again. The thought that his career is over is far too heartbreaking to even consider. It is his involvement that has made this case so sickening and sad. We tend to reach for hyperbole at times like these, but Amir really is comparable with any 18-year-old bowler in the history of the game. And those who would easily dismiss him as a greedy deviant should recall his overwhelming joy at taking a Lord’s five-for on Friday, when he bent down to kiss the turf. The News of the World described it as “a kiss of betrayal”, but it wasn’t: it was the kiss of a kid who adores the game. He may have done something gravely wrong; if so, we must hope the ICC does not compound it with a hasty and excessive punishment.” Rob Smyth – The Guardian
“We must remember that we are judging these guys by the standards of our own country, when their situations are vastly different. The first time I met Mohammad Amir was when he was 16, coming to an Under-19s camp. He comes from a small village near the Swat valley and was delayed by three hours because the Taliban had closed the highway. That doesn’t happen in this country.
One thing that struck me about Amir was his constant smile, his zest for the game. That has not changed. I will never condone any form of fixing, but we should consider that a cricketer might not be thinking of personal gain but of getting money to buy a generator for his village because they don’t have electricity.” Geoff Lawson – The Age , Melbourne
“In the case of Amir, who is 18, it is terrible that a supremely talented youngster could be exposed to this. He is a delightful bowler with terrific skills. How sad it would be if it turns out his career is wrecked, but if anyone is involved in corruption he must be banned for life.” Jonathan Agnew – BBC Cricket
“I think one of the great sadnesses of all of this, and it’s a widely held view, is that a great young talent like Amir has been implicated in this one,” said Parry. “I think that’s what perhaps separates this from many other cases, because it suggests that the bad guys got to him before the good guys did.
But in terms of educating the players, it could be that they’ve (the ICC) not done enough. It would have to be a shock that a talent that has broken onto the scene so very, very quickly is at the centre of all this.
He’d have been enrolled in a cricket academy from a young age, and from the moment he shot to prominence with the international squad, you’d think that the Pakistan Cricket Board might have recognised a vulnerability and a need to put an arm around him. I can’t imagine it would have been that difficult to do, because when you read of the sums involved in betting in the Far East – with up to $500 million on a single game – the temptation is potentially there for relatively lowly paid cricketers. It’s beholden upon the authorities to step in and provide appropriate support systems.” Rick Parry – Cricinfo
“Only 18, and from an impoverished background, Amir would appear as much victim as perpetrator, a teenager whose head was easily turned.
If found guilty Amir, who was Pakistan’s Man of the Series, must be punished for his role, but he must not be crushed, despite those who think he should have known better. Morals are not limited to those with an education or experience. Amir might very well have been targeted precisely because he lacked both those things.
He was allegedly manipulated on two fronts; by the apparent loathsome fixer, promising riches beyond his means, and by the senior players also allegedly involved in the scam: Salman Butt, his captain, and Mohammad Asif, his new-ball partner.
He must be saved for another reason too, for cricket is not so well endowed it can afford to cast its prize assets on to the bonfire and hope others rise phoenix-like in their place. Amir is the youngest bowler in history to reach 50 Test wickets, so imagine how good he could be if he concentrated solely on getting batsmen out and not on the instructions needed to complete shady deals.” Derek Pringle – The Telegraph


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