Mohammad Asif Tuesday implored England players and fans to allow his partner-in-crime Mohammad Amir to play with a free mind and don’t chant slogans against him.
Asif, playing club cricket in Norway, hoped everything will be fine and Amir will again be a match-winner.
“I request that England players and fans allow him to play freely,” Asif told ARY News from Norway. “He and two of us others committed a mistake, were punished and now our bans are over so let us play. Let Amir play as he is an excellent and outstanding talent.”
Amir along with Asif and then Test captain Salman Butt was caught in a spot-fixing scandal on Pakistan’s last tour to England in 2010.
The new-ball pairing of Amir and Asif bowled deliberate no-balls on orders from Butt during the Lord’s Test, which turned out to be sting operation by the now defunct British tabloid News of the World.
All three were banned for five years and served jail terms in UK.
Since the bans were relieved in September last year, Amir was allowed to play international cricket while Butt and Asif wait for their chance.
Asif praised the crowds in England.
“They are cricket loving gentlemen and I don’t think there will be any opposition against Amir,” said Asif, criticizing England captain Alistair Cook and exiled batsman Kevin Pietersen.
“What Cook said and what now Pietersen is saying that are their tactics for long now,” said Asif of Cook and Pietersen who expect chants from crowds on Amir.
“England are shaken by the way Amir has bowled in the side game,” said Asif of his former partner who took three early wickets in the side game against Somerset.
Asif hoped Amir doesn’t take pressure.
“I hope he plays with a free mind. If anyone shouts at him just ignore and I am sure that once he performs then everything will subside. Enjoy the game and enjoy Lord’s and that’s all.”
Asif hoped other bowlers support Amir.
“When we use to bowl together we would always complement each other well. I would always know that if I am not taking wickets, Amir will take and vice versa, so I hope Wahab (Riaz), Rahat (Ali) and Yasir (Shah) will support Amir from the other end,
“Yasir can be deadly at Lord’s because its a slow pitch and if Pakistan score big then we may have a winning start to the series.”
Asif said he was enjoying club cricket in Norway.
“My team — Christian CC is doing well and we are currently third in the table and that’s mainly because a few matches are rained off, from 50 overs you play 15 a side which are very less.”
Asif hoped he regains his place in the Pakistan team.
“I didnt get much chance of playing first class games so the coming season I will play, get wickets and force my way back. I have enough cricket left in me so I will do my best.”