'Aamer was in the "the grip of evil"': Atherton

Published: Monday, September 6, 2010, 12:49 [IST]
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'Aamer should be given a chance'

Former England captain Michael Atherton feels young Pakistan pacer Mohammad Aamer was in the 'the grip of evil' and should be given a chance.

Cricketer-turned-journalist Atherton said he hopes to see the 18-year-old Aamer getting a fresh chance to mend his ways.

"Nasser Hussain, who I once saw walking around the team hotel in Sri Lanka in the early hours of the morning before a Test match unable to sleep, so worried was he about his form, spoke for us all when he said, 'Please don't let it be the kid'," Atherton wrote in 'The News of the World'.

"The 'kid' in question was Mohammad Aamer, the young, good looking and prodigiously talented Pakistan bowler who had blown England away on the second morning at Lord's with a mesmeric spell of left-arm fast bowling and who now, we had been told, had overstepped the front line twice for a few dollars more," he added.

Atherton, however, said underperforming for money is worse than even failing a dope test.

"It is worse than doping, because the fixer is deliberately trying to under-perform, so deceiving the paying public."

The former batsman said though he hopes to see lenient treatment for Aamer, the ICC is "unlikely to show any clemency now".

"This is not necessarily arbitrary or unfair; simply a realisation that there are mitigating circumstances for an 18-year old...It would be grossly unfair to ban a kid for life for overstepping the line twice.

Mohammad Aamer, fellow pacer Mohammad Asif and Pakistan captain Salman Butt have been charged and suspended by the ICC after a sting operation by a British tabloid revealed that they bowled pre-arranged no-balls to order during the Lord's Test against England last week.


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