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"Down-to-earth" Pak pacer Amir leaves club cricketers impressed

June 12, 2011 - London

Banned Pakistan pacer Mohammad Amir's troubles have compounded following his appearance at a club match in Surrey last week, but he has managed to earn the goodwill of his team mates.

Amir, who has been banned for five years by an Anti-Corruption Tribunal after proven guilty of spot-fixing during last year's tour of England, played club cricket in Surrey last Saturday, starting for Addington 1743 in a Surrey Cricket League Division One fixture against St Lukes at the LSE ground in New Malden.

Amir was described as "a nice guy" and "very down-to-earth" by Addington batsman Raheal Shafi.

"He [Amir] was probably holding back his pace but he was still very quick to The Other Guys. The keeper took a couple of short ones and said he bowled quick. Most of the guys at our level don't wear helmets but they did on Saturday. In fact even he did when he went out to bat. He did not like the pitch and it was not really up to the standard that he is used to," The Telegraph quoted Shafi, as saying.

"He [Amir] was a nice guy and I just hope playing for us does not get him into trouble. We thought we would ask if he was available and would like to play the rest of the season for us, so it came as a big shock to find it all in the newspapers," he added.

St Luke's wicketkeeper Matthew Quade said that his team realised who Amir was, only when the team sheets were handed in just before the toss, adding that Addington told St Luke that they had got permission to field him.

"We were a bit daunted, but it was a great opportunity to face one of the world's great bowlers. Rather than the bowling, it was his batting that did the damage. He opened for them and scored 60 very rapidly. I think we dropped him on 25 though," Quade said.

He went on to say that even though Amir was not bowling at his full capacity, he was still "at least 10 miles per hour faster than anything we normally face."

"His bowling was so accurate, very impressive indeed. I would describe the standard of our games as average and he certainly wasn't that. It was fantastic for us to play against such a big name in the game even if he did take four for nine. I faced two balls from him and survived them so I was delighted," Quade added.


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