Tainted Pakistan fast-bowler Mohammad Amir, who is returning to the national side after a five-year spot-fixing ban, says he is a changed man now, and that he hopes to regain the cricket community’s trust with his performance.
In an interview published Monday, Amir accepted his past mistakes, but urged team-mates and fans to give him another chance “to change myself for good”.
“I am a different person this time,” Amir told ESPNcricinfo. “My vision about life has changed and now I am more positive. I have experienced a lot at such a minor age. I don’t know about the future and nobody knows what will happen next. As a professional sportsman I can only give my best shot to win the trust back.
“I know it is a slow process and I will definitely win it with my performance. I am determined to do this for the fans who stood by me … now it’s all about their pride and I will be the guardian of their trust,” he said.
Amir has been named in the Pakistan squad which will play three Twenty20 and as many one-day games against New Zealand over the next three weeks but his participation depends on New Zealand immigration officials allowing him a visa.
Amir’s selection in the team met opposition from senior batsman Mohammad Hafeez and ODI captain Azhar Ali, who protested by boycotting a training camp before the Pakistan Cricket Board mediated.
“Everyone has an opinion and I respect that,” said Amir when asked if he was hurt by Azhar or Hafeez’s statements.
“It’s their right to express whatever they felt and I am not hurt at all. You can’t push and force people to do what they don’t want to do,” he said. “Whatever they said it was their opinion and I believe if there are issues it should be addressed, discussed. Credit should be given to the board as it intervened and united us all together.”
He said he was happy that everyone in the camp heard his side of the story.
“I am lucky they understood me and now the atmosphere is good around me. I think it’s more of communication gap as five years are a lot. I think when you mix with them and talk to them they automatically start realising and see that I am a changed person so I think with time things will be good,” he said.
The fast bowler was only 18 when he was handed a five-year ban from cricket in 2011 for his involvement in spot fixing. When asked why people should trust him now, he said: “I know people madly in love with cricket, they got hurt, and they now should trust me only because I want to give back their love for cricket, by performing. I want them to trust me because they lost something because of me and I want to give back with my whole heart and soul.”
“Fans – no matter where they are in Pakistan or England or wherever – were hurt, I know that and the most important goal is to win them all,” he said.