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New Pakistan cricket chief wants Aamer ban reduced

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

Pakistan's interim cricket chief said Monday he would ask the sport's governing body to reduce a five-year ban against promising fast bowler Mohammad Aamer for spot fixing.

Aamer, regarded as hot property in international cricket for his pace and guile, was banned with team-mates Salman Butt and Mohammad Asif in February 2011 by the International Cricket Council (ICC).

The trio were exposed in a sting operation by now defunct British tabloid News of the World, which saw them promising to bowl deliberate no-balls in return for money in the 2010 Lord's Test against England.

All three and their agent Mazhar Majeed were also jailed in 2011.

Najam Sethi, appointed interim chairman of the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) on Sunday, said he would ask the ICC to reduce Aamer's ban at its annual meeting in London starting on Tuesday.

"Aamer is our talented cricketer and I will request the ICC that (as) he has spent two and a half years of his ban, was also jailed, so for God's sake reduce his ban," Sethi told a press conference.

Under the ICC players code of conduct the minimum punishment for such a violation is five years.

Sethi, a 65-year-old journalist who was also interim chief minister of Punjab during a recent general election campaign, replaced Zaka Ashraf after he was suspended on charges of being dubiously elected.

Sethi promised accountability over any failings of the national team following their dismal show in the Champions Trophy where they lost all three matches.

"I want to stress that in the future the captain, coach, vice captain and the selection committee will be held accountable in case the team fails in any event," said Sethi.

Sethi said events such as Saturday's killing of 10 foreign climbers in the north made it difficult to bring international cricket back to Pakistan, a task he said would be for a permanent chairman.

International cricket has been suspended in Pakistan since militants attacked the Sri Lankan team bus in Lahore in March 2009, forcing the national team to play their home matches on neutral venues.

Sethi said the squad for the upcoming tour of the West Indies would be announced later this week. Pakistan will play five one-day and two Twenty20 internationals in the Caribbean next month.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/130624/new-pakistan-cricket-chief-wants-aamer-ban-reduced