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26 February, 2012

Amir to focus on ICC ban appeal

Pakistan news
Amir to focus on ICC ban appeal
Umar Farooq
February 26, 2012

Mohammad Amir is set to quickly start the process of trying to rescue his cricket career after returning to Pakistan following the completion of his sentence for spot-fixing. ESPNcricinfo understands that one of his early aims is to pursue his appeal before the Court of Arbitration for Sports (CAS) against the five-year ban handed out by the ICC.

Amir returned to Pakistan on Saturday after being released from a young offenders' institute in Dorset after serving half of a six-month sentence handed down in November. The CAS, based in Switzerland, registered Amir's appeal in March 2011 - filed at the same time as those of Mohammad Asif and Salman Butt - after an ICC tribunal had banned the trio from playing any level of cricket.

The CAS is yet to announce a panel to hear the appeal and that will only be formed once Amir takes the process further. The appeal has been delayed because of the criminal charges involved and the sentences imposed.

"It's only the CAS now, which has the right to hear the appeal against the decision," PCB legal advisor, Taffazul Rizvi told ESPNcricinfo. "And any decision made by CAS shall be binding on all."

The PCB is not liable to provide a player financial aid while they pursue a case before the CAS, but the PCB chairman Zaka Ashraf has previously hinted that Amir would be given support while undergoing rehabilitation. "All offences against which the players were accused off were in their personal capacity for their personal acts so therefore they will face these (CAS) proceeding in their own personal capacity," added Rizvi.

"The cases will be handled in accordance with the procedural rules set out in the code of sports-related arbitration," CAS said in a statement when the appeals were lodged. "The parties will first exchange written submissions and will then be heard at a hearing, the date of which will be fixed at a later stage."

Amir will work with London-based solicitor Sajida Malik to draw up the appeal after Malik accompanied Amir back to Pakistan. Both avoided the media on their arrival in Lahore and remained shut away at Amir's home during the day.

The PCB are likely to put Amir into an education programme as part of his rehabilitation but are also keen to talk to him about the spot-fixing case. Under ICC regulations if a player who has been banned wants to return to cricket he must have gone through a rehabilitation course. As the PCB was his employer when the incidents occurred - Amir held a central contract - they can also decide to hold further investigations although Rizvi said it was a complicated process.

"As far as launching any further inquiry at this point that is something we need to look into," he said. "He has already been found guilty and sentenced from two different forums and is undergoing the sentences. It's not a simple matter and is legally complicated. But the PCB does hold the right to investigate the player."

Edited by Andrew McGlashan

Umar Farooq is ESPNcricinfo's Pakistan correspondent
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