London - Former England batting great David Gower reckons that the return of Pakistan pacer M Aamir to international cricket following the expiry of his five-year ban is good for the game.

Aamir’s return to international cricket met with a mixed reaction with various former and current players voicing their views. While some like Darren Gough agreed with his return, others like Graeme Swann and Kevin Pietersen felt that Aamir deserved to be banned for life.

However, like Gough, Gower believes that Aamir was influenced by the senior players, Salman Butt and M Asif, who were also involved in the 2010 spot-fixing scandal. Though he agrees that a strict example must be set as a deterrent to prevent other players from engaging in such corrupt activities, Gower feels that Aamir has taken all the right steps after the spot-fixing scandal to deserve a second chance.

During an interview with PakPassion.net, Gower said: “I always thought with him there were extenuating circumstances which were the situation and the influence on him from senior players. I didn't think it would be fair for him to be treated in the same way as the other two. I think, yes; of course it's a very good point that you need to make a severe example of anyone who is caught doing anything like that, as the moment you're too lenient, other people think that maybe one can get away with this. That's just the human thing.”

He said: “In his case, I think he's done everything right since then; being sent to a young offender's institution for three months was not fun for him, being banned for five years wasn't fun for him. He's been involved in the re-education of Pakistan cricketers and he's been held up as a good example of someone who can get it wrong and be given a second chance, and now it's completely up to him to do the right things for the rest of his career.”

He added: “I'm glad Aamir's back, it's good for cricket, for reasons like that, and of course because he's a talent, he can bowl really well and we want to watch him bowl.

Pakistan, who are currently on the tour of the British Isles, are ranked third in Test cricket, one spot above England. According to Gower, one of the major factors for Pakistan’s resurgence in the Test format after the 2010 spot-fixing scandal has been the leadership of Misbah-ul-Haq. “Pakistan are ranked highly and to achieve that sort of status, something good has to have happened. You do need people to lead. We all know about the ramifications of the 2010 tour.

Gower said: “When stories like that break, teams and the whole nation have to think very hard about the situation. It's something which takes a lot of work to eradicate. He (Misbah) has had a big responsibility on his shoulders like that and to get the results they have and bring forth new players and to see the team evolve, I think, is a tribute to his leadership qualities. There's one or two comments from close observers who say sometimes that his tactics aren't all they might be, but captaincy isn't just about that; it's the whole thing.”  The ongoing four-match Test series between England and Pakistan is level 1-1 at the moment after the hosts staged a comeback at Old Trafford with a 330-run win.