Mohammad Amir, the much touted bowling prodigy, was recently cleared to return early from his five-year ban for spot-fixing. The ICC’s Anti-Corruption and Security Unit, with the prior approval of the ICC board and the Pakistan Cricket Board, exercised its discretion to let Amir play in the domestic circuit. Yet, his imminent return isn’t without blemishes; having navigated the straits of ICC regulations and UK law, it is the people back home who are now standing in the way.

Amir’s return has divided opinion; between those who view him as an estranged young player, who now needs to be brought back into the fold and those who view him as a symbolic lesson that needs to be strung up on the rafters for all to see. To which end, a citizen has filed a petition in the Sindh High Court on Monday calling for the imposition of a life time ban on Mohammad Amir – which the court admitted. The urge to ban Amir for life is strong, and there are established precedents too; Salim Malik and Ata-ur-Rehman were banned in 1995 after a judicial probe into corruption allegations. For many Amir has no excuse, he earned a sizeable cricketer’s salary and was old enough to know the repercussions of his actions, his actions disgraced the nation and the sport, and he should be punished severely as an example to all else. A burning, vindictive fury is satisfying, but in this case it is misplaced and counter-productive.

Banning Amir for life is an excessive punishment because it is not based on his actions alone; it is harsher than usual to act as a deterrent against future offenders – a burden that is not his to bear. It also feels like double jeopardy; having been convicted and punished once, he is being punished for the same offence all over again. This is especially unfair since he was led to believe that his cooperation and repentance would lead to his cricketing return. Everybody deserves a second chance, especially those who show great personal change.