I'd struggle to welcome spot-fixer Westfield into a dressing room I was in

Chris Tremlett
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Westfield had a five-year ban for spot-fixing lifted a year early (Source: Getty)

I would find it very difficult if jailed spot-fixer Mervyn Westfield, who had his five-year ban lifted a year early and could play second XI county cricket this season, walked into my dressing room and represented the club that I was playing for.

Westfield, aged 21 at the time, was approached by Pakistan spinner and Essex team-mate Danish Kaneria and told he would be paid £6,000 if he conceded 12 runs from his first over in a Pro40 clash against Durham in September 2009.

The Professional Cricketers’ Association (PCA) drill it into players in this country that we just don’t get involved in such things. Westfield made a stupid decision, disrespected the game and did wrong by the people involved in the sport.

I don’t have any sympathy for him. He chose to go down a particular route and that was his decision. Perhaps not everyone feels the same way but I would struggle to let someone like that back into a team environment.

There will be those still in the game and on the county circuit that take a similar view and I think Westfield will find in difficult. There will be plenty who feel he doesn’t deserve a second chance and the opportunity to play again at that level.

My stance on Pakistan fast bowler Mohammad Amir, however, who has already returned to the Pakistan fold after completing a five-year suspension for spot-fixing, is slightly different.

Along with former skipper Salman Butt and fellow seamer Mohammad Asif, Amir served time in prison for deliberately bowling no-balls during his Test side’s 2010 series in England.

Don’t get me wrong, I still think he has been let back into the game far too early and has been let off too easily. I would have liked to have seen a longer ban but I am split on the matter and perhaps a bit more lenient on him.

But I do think there are cultural differences between international sides and the pressures that a player like Amir might have felt are perhaps not the same as for English youngsters.

There probably weren’t the same safeguards in place either which we have over here in terms of the PCA, and while Westfield was old enough and wise enough to know what he was doing, Amir was extremely young, only 18 at the time.

Amir, now aged 23, made his Pakistan return against New Zealand last month and is set to feature in the World Twenty20 next month and then return to these shores in the summer when Pakistan tour.

The events of 2010 left such a sour taste and I remember when I joined up with the England squad later that year there was still a lot of anger. I’m more lenient but I could see some players perhaps taking a stand and refusing to play against him.

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