Aamer's coach and family say he's innocent

31 August 2010 - 17:37
By Sapa-AFP

The former mentor and family of Pakistan cricketer Mohammad Aamer proclaimed his innocence on Tuesday after British police questioned him on spot-fixing allegations following a newspaper sting.

Asif Bajwa, who coached the pacer into an international cricketer from his school days, said the scandal was an effort to spoil the career of a man who has been recognised by the International Cricket Council as a top-class player.

"He has been nominated as the best emerging player in the world. He has become the most important member of Pakistan team, he is a future star. They want to tarnish his image by involving him in conspiracies," said Bajwa.

The inquiry follows a sting by a British Sunday tabloid in which a bookmaker allegedly paid Pakistani players including Aamer to deliberately bowl no-balls in the last Test match between Pakistan and England last week.

Britain's biggest-selling paper, the News of the World, released video footage that it said proved it had paid middleman Mazhar Majeed 150,000 pounds (230,000 dollars) for exact details of three deliberate no-balls in the match.

"My brother is innocent. He has been trapped in an international conspiracy to defame our cricket team and country," said Mohammad Ijaz, the elder brother of Aamer.

"Anybody can bowl a no ball at any time. I can give an oath on behalf of Aamer that he is innocent," said Ijaz, adding that his brother was worried when he spoke to him on the telephone from London on Sunday.

"He is tense and worried. He told me he has nothing to do with this scandal. He has been set up because he was performing well," he said.

"We know him and he knows that the country's respect is dearest to us. We love our country more than his career."