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Pakistan hope rule change helps bowler Amir return early from 5-year ban

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ISLAMABAD - Fast bowler Mohammad Amir could play in domestic competitions before his five-year ban ends in September 2015 if the Pakistan Cricket Board gets its way.

The International Cricket Council review committee inserted a draft clause in its anti-corruption code "permitting a banned player to be involved in domestic matches prior to the end of his ban period," according to a PCB statement. It added, the amended code will be up for approval before the ICC board, after which the PCB will be in a position to apply for Amir's early comeback.

Amir was banned for five years in 2011 for bowling deliberate no-balls during a test against England at Lord's in 2010. He did not appeal, and was involved in the ICC rehabilitation program. He pleaded guilty in court and served jail time.

PCB chairman Najam Sethi, who attended the ICC annual conference in Melbourne, said the proposed amendment in the anti-corruption code was "very encouraging and yet another step closer to the early entry of Mohammad Amir in cricket."

Two other Pakistan players, Mohammad Asif and Salman Butt, were banned for at least five years for similar spot-fixing offences in the same test, but their appeals were rejected in the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

Sethi has been supporting Amir's return since he was appointed chairman last year.

The PCB even sought legal opinion on Amir's early return from Queen's Counsel in the United Kingdom, before the ICC agreed to review its anti-corruption code.

During the annual conference, Sethi was also named in the five-member executive committee with India, England, Australia and the West Indies.

"Our representation on the executive committee will ensure Pakistan remains involved in the important decision-making," Sethi said.

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