Melbourne: Former England batsman Kevin Pietersen has joined the chorus of players who believe Mohammad Amir should have been given a lifetime ban for his role in the 2010 spot-fixing scandal but warned his country’s players and fans to sledge the left-handed pacer at their own peril.
The 24-year-old, who served a prison sentence in the United Kingdom and a five-year suspension for his role in the infamous case, will aim to erase his sordid past when he will resume his Test career at Lord’s– the scene of the fixing scandal– on Thursday.
Amir, along with former skipper Salman Butt and Mohammad Asif, were then found guilty of various offences of corrupt behaviour relating to the Lord’s Test between England and Pakistan in August 2010 by the independent Anti-Corruption Tribunal in February 2011.
Pietersen, who was among the England team that played that unfortunate Test, wrote in his latest column for a London-based daily that spot-fixers should be banned for life and that they should not be given a second chance.
“They have broken the rules, should pay the price and not be given a second chance,” Pietersen was quoted as saying by cricket.com.au. “If you cheat the system either by taking drugs or money to under-perform then you are mugging the spectators, your teammates and a sport that has been around a lot longer than you.
“People always deserve a second chance in life but sport is different.
“To try and gain an advantage by taking drugs or devaluing your sport by being bribed is breaking the 11th and 12th commandments. There can be no way back.”
The 36-year-old maverick batsman, however, doesn’t expect the hosts to sledge Amir and warned local fans against provoking the Pakistan quick.
“He is just as quick, and as competitive as ever. He is verbal. He lets you know he is bowling at you. He will cop a load of stick off the English fans but he will not take a step back. It is going to make great viewing,” Pietersen said.
“With guys like him verbals from the crowd or a bit of sledging from the opposition spurs him on to do great things so the fans will not be doing England any favours by giving him some abuse,” he added.
His comments on the Pakistan bowler echo those of former England teammate Graeme Swann, who said that Amir’s return at Lord’s would make him feel sick.