Family express sympathy for jailed Amir

Mom defends teen Pakistani cricket star
Mom defends teen Pakistani cricket star

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Story highlights

  • Mohammad Amir's family tell CNN they sympathize with their son's plight
  • They believe the teenage Pakistan cricketer was forced into a betting scam
  • Amir was one of three players jailed in England on Thursday for their role in the scandal
Shock waves were felt throughout cricket on Thursday when three Pakistan international players were sent to prison for their part in a betting scam against England in 2010.
The trio, Salman Butt, Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Amir were handed differing jail terms after being found guilty of plotting to cheat during the match at Lord's -- the home of English cricket.
However, while Butt and Asif have been roundly condemned for their actions, which resulted in sentences of 30 months and 12 months respectively, in some quarters there has been a modicum of sympathy for 19-year-old Amir.
Unlike his two, more experienced colleagues, Amir confessed to deliberately bowling no-balls (foul deliveries) in order to make money in a betting scam, with the judge, Mr Justice Cooke, handing him a lesser sentence of six months, calling him ""impressionable".
And now Amir's mother and brother have told CNN they have sympathy for the teenager, believing he was coerced into agreeing to bowl no balls.
Speaking from her family home in Changa Bangial, one hour outside Islamabad, Amir's mother, Naseem Akhtar, told CNN's Reza Sayah: "He rose to stardom at the speed of light and has falling back down just as fast.
"Amir still thinks like a child, he is very naive. I know that he was forced into doing this, he wasn't greedy for money," she added.
"But in my heart I know that god is with him, and he will make a comeback in cricket with my prayers."
Amir's close friend Rizwan Akbar told CNN: "I have known Mohammad for eight or nine years, we lived together. I did not think he would ever do anything like this."
However, somebody who has no sympathy for Amir and his fellow-convicted teammates is Paul Condon, the former head of the International Cricket Council's anti-corruption unit.
Speaking to CNN's Don Riddell, following the announcement of the prison sentences, Condon said: "These guys betrayed their country and betrayed millions of cricket lovers around the world.
"These players were idolized in Pakistan, but they betrayed everything for money so they deserve what they have got."
Condon added: "In my time with the ICC, I always said the most powerful message was if cricketers were dealt with criminally for these matters, otherwise cricket loses and millions of people also lose their confidence in the game."