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PCB chief to raise issue of Amir at ICC meeting

June 24, 2013

ISLAMABAD (AP) — The acting chairman of the Pakistan Cricket Board says he will ask the International Cricket Council to reconsider the five-year ban on young fast bowler Mohammad Amir for spot-fixing.

Najam Sethi is scheduled to attend the ICC board meeting in England later this week where he plans to raise the issue of Amir’s ban.

“Amir is a great star,” Sethi told reporters in Lahore on Monday. “I will try to make the ICC understand that Amir is a young cricketer, he has already served 2, 2 ½ years of his ban.”

Amir is banned until September 2015 for bowling deliberate no-balls during a test match against England in 2010. The leftarm fast bowler pleaded guilty and did not appeal against the ban. Appeals by his teammates Mohammad Asif and Salman Butt were rejected by Court of Arbitration for Sport.

Amir was also sentenced to six months in London for cheating but was released from prison last year due to good behavior after serving half his sentence.

Sethi took charge as acting chairman on Monday after a judge at the Islamabad High Court directed the government to replace Zaka Ashraf, whose election was challenged by a former official.

Among Sethi’s top priorities: representing Pakistan at the ICC meeting; approving the team for next month’s one-day and Twenty20 series against the West Indies; and conducting fair and transparent elections in the PCB.

Sethi refused to take the blame for Pakistan’s poor performance in the recent Champions Trophy where Misbah ul Haq’s team lost all three group matches, could not score beyond 170 runs in the three games and senior batsmen like Shoaib Malik, Imran Farhat and Kamran Akmal failed miserably.

“I didn’t make (choose) the team for Champions Trophy,” Sethi said.

Sethi is a prominent journalist and was the caretaker chief minister of Punjab province in the interim government before general elections in May.

The acting PCB chief said he will not be interfering in the workings of the national selection committee, but also said there would be accountability for decisions made.

“They (selectors) have to take the responsibility when the team wins or loses,” he said. “Similarly the captain, vice-captain, coach and manager will be held accountable.”

Sethi said he received numerous telephone calls on Monday from people wanting to get certain players on the team for the tour of the West Indies.

“But I didn’t pay attention to anyone because I want the selectors to do their job and hopefully they will finalize the squad in four-five days,” he said.

Sethi said he will try to streamline the affairs of the PCB by taking all the stakeholders on board and conduct transparent elections for the new PCB chairman.

“That’s my job,” he said. “I have no plans to play a long innings, my program (on private television channel) is scheduled to restart from next month.

He said his aim is “that a new administration comes and runs the affairs of the cricket board in a transparent manner.”

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