England v Pakistan Tests
No second chances for match-fixers: KP
Kevin Pietersen has warned England players and fans against firing up Mohammad Amir when the first Test gets underway
12 July 2016, 12:26 PM AEST
Kevin Pietersen has joined the chorus of players who believe Mohammad Amir should be banned for life his part in the 2010 spot-fixing scandal, but cautioned England players and fans against provoking the Pakistan quick when he makes his Test cricket return at Lord’s on Thursday.
Amir will return to the scene of his crime when he tackles England at Lord's six years after he deliberately bowled no balls at the same venue during a Test in 2010.
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Pietersen was among the England team that played against Pakistan at that Lord's Test in August 2010 and the 36-year-old believes anyone caught match-fixing or spot-fixing should be banned for life.
"They have broken the rules, should pay the price and not be given a second chance,” Pietersen wrote in The Telegraph UK.
"If you cheat the system either by taking drugs or money to under-perform then you are mugging the spectators, your teammates and a sport that has been around a lot longer than you.
"People always deserve a second chance in life but sport is different.
"We are paid to play a sport we love and are damn lucky to lead the life of a professional cricketer.
"To try and gain an advantage by taking drugs or devaluing your sport by being bribed is breaking the 11th and 12th commandments. There can be no way back."
However, Pietersen doesn’t expect the England players to dwell on Amir’s past on Thursday and he warned local fans they risked firing up the 24-year-old at their own – and England’s – peril.
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"He is just as quick, and as competitive as ever. He is verbal. He lets you know he is bowling at you. He will cop a load of stick off the English fans but he will not take a step back. It is going to make great viewing,” Pietersen wrote.
"With guys like him verbals from the crowd or a bit of sledging from the opposition spurs him on to do great things so the fans will not be doing England any favours by giving him some abuse.
"(Trevor Bayliss and Alastair Cook) will realise that riling him is not a good option. If he were a batsman it would be easier to sledge him because all 11 players could get on top of him and give him some verbal abuse.
"But as a bowler he has the power. If you rile him and he takes three wickets in five balls then you look like a chump, so the England players will not be focused on Amir’s past."
Pietersen’s views on match-fixing bans echo those of former England teammate Graeme Swann and current Test quick Stuart Broad.
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Last week, Swann said he would “feel sick” when Amir walked out at Lord’s.
"Mohammad Amir will walk out on the green and glorious turf at Lord’s on Thursday — and it will make me feel sick," Swann wrote in The Sun.
"This is a man who crushed the morality of the game. And yet he is being allowed back to play at the Home of Cricket."
Last week, Broad said he had "no hard feelings" against Amir, but was still bitter his sole Test century during that 2010 Lord’s Test was tainted by the Pakistani's involvement in spot-fixing.
"Of course it annoys me that that game will always be connected with what went on. Lord's is the home of cricket. It's a wonderful place to play and that Test match will always be remembered for the wrong reasons," Broad told the Mail on Sunday.
However, Pakistan captain Misbah-ul-Haq is confident that Amir can make a successful return to Test cricket and that the left-arm quick has the full support of his teammates.
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"Everyone has their opinion but now he is back everyone is supporting him and the whole team is there," Misbah said.
Pietersen also revealed Pakistan had approached him to take on a role as batting consultant for their tour of the British Isles.
"I wish Pakistan luck and I have a big respect for their game after playing in the PSL, so much so that I was honoured when they approached me to help them out as a batting consultant on this tour.
"But my schedule is too busy at the moment and my loyalty to England means at this stage I would not want to work against them. This series is there for England to win."