PCB seeks British visa for Amir

Karachi, May 20

Pakistan cricket authorities on Friday submitted a British visa application for spot-fixing convict Mohammad Amir, with officials hopeful of a favourable ruling that will allow him to tour England in July.

The left-arm quick was sentenced to six months in an English young offender institution in 2011 after pleading guilty to corruption charges for his role in spot-fixing during the Lord’s Test of 2010 — a conviction which could result in him being denied entry. Amir, along with his then captain Salman Butt and fellow bowler Mohammad Asif, were also handed five year playing bans — though Amir was allowed to return to domestic cricket six months early mainly because he confessed to his offence early on.

Now 24, he has made a relatively successful return to the side and Pakistan are eager to use him as a key weapon during the England tour where they play four Tests, five one-day internationals and a Twenty20. “Amir’s visa application was submitted today at (the) UK High Commission in Islamabad. He completed the process of the application,” a Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) release said.

Immigration lawyers told The Daily Telegraph last month Amir’s case would depend on whether his admission into the country would be contrary to the public good, and would remain at the discretion of the immigration officer dealing with his application. Legal sources said Amir’s case was different from Butt and Asif’s as he was not deported from England after being released in February 2012. The fact that Amir was granted a visa by New Zealand in January, is also thought to work in his favour.

PCB chairman Shaharyar Khan said he hopes Amir’s case would be considered on sympathetic grounds. “I have written a letter to High Commissioner seeking special and sympathetic consideration on Amir’s visa,” he told AFP. “The England and Wales Cricket Board is also assisting and are in touch with their Home department, so we hope for a positive response,” Khan added.