Stuart Broad has said that England will be ready to put aside the past and treat Mohammad Amir, the Pakistan fast bowler who was banned for spot-fixing during the Lord’s Test in 2010, as just another opponent if and when their paths cross on the cricket field in the coming 12 months.
The prospect of Amir, 23, playing against England during next month’s tour of the UAE receded on Wednesday following his omission from Pakistan’s squads both for the Test matches and the Pakistan A warm-up games.
However, there remains a good chance that Amir will be involved at some stage of next summer’s tour of England. And Broad, whose maiden Test century at Lord’s five years ago, and a world-record eighth-wicket stand of 332 with Jonathan Trott, was overshadowed by the News of the World revelations that led to jail terms and playing bans for Amir, his new-ball partner Mohammad Asif and their captain Salman Butt, said he was ready to accept the bowler back into the international fold.
“I genuinely don’t know what it’ll be like [facing him again],” Broad told ESPNcricinfo. “There was obviously quite a big cloud over that Test series victory in 2010. But the ICC gave the players punishments and they are getting close to having served them.
“I’ve seen a few interviews that he’s done and he seems sorry and keen to get back on a cricket field,” Broad added. “But as a player you are not too bothered who you are playing against, to be honest, you go a bit internal and focus on what you do.”
Amir, who was 18 at the time of the Lord’s Test in 2010, had just become the youngest bowler in history to reach 50 international wickets when he was caught in the newspaper sting that involved bowling no-balls to order. He was banned from all cricket for five years and also received a six-month jail term following a trial at Southwark Crown Court, from which he was released after three months.
Pakistan’s first Test at Lord’s since that infamous fixture begins on July 14 next year, and is sure to attract a huge interest if Amir is selected to play. However, Broad said that England had learnt during the Ashes to put aside personalities when it comes to high-profile contests.
“I think the mistakes we made as an England team this summer were maybe when we focused on the Australians too much and what other teams were doing,” he said. “We’ve definitely learned from that mistake and it’ll be very much about what we are doing within our changing room. What our team are doing to take us forward. Whoever we are playing against we’ll be right on the money.”