LAHORE - Pakistan’s banned fast bowler M Amir has promised to return to the cricket field as a better player and human being.

Talking to the reporters here Thursday, Amir said: “Today is the happiest day of my life and I have learnt my lesson. I promise to come back as not only a better cricketer but also as a better person.

Amir said he was overwhelmed by the announcement, the fruit of two years of efforts by the PCB. "It's the biggest news of my life. It was the most difficult phase of my life but I am sure it's over now and I am keen to return to international grounds,” he said.

"For me right now just to get a chance to play domestic cricket in Pakistan. To get another chance to better my life is a gift from God. I have assured the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) and the International Cricket Council (ICC) that I will play my due role in also helping other players understand the consequences of straying from the path," Amir said

Amir said he would require just a month or so to get back into match mode and that he was in negotiation with some departmental teams to play domestic cricket. With the first class matches in Pakistan over this season, Amir will only have the option of either playing the non-first class Grade two tournaments or in the Super Eight T20 after the World Cup.

The pacer said his wife had supported him tremendously and added he would be having an official wedding ceremony soon. Commenting on his performance, Amir said: “All players come under pressure and they have to handle the pressure in a professional manner."

At least two leading departments have already shown interest in signing Amir to play for them in the domestic season. The sources close to the bowler revealed that his old employers, National Bank of Pakistan (NBP) and Karachi-Electric were keen to sign him. “K-Electric is ready to even offer him a short term contract as they want him to play in the upcoming non-first class Grade II competition while another side, Omar Associates is also contemplating signing him on for the tournament. But Amir is more interested in getting back his job in NBP who had sacked him, Salman Butt and M Asif after the trio were banned for spot fixing in early 2011," the source said.

He said that NBP had sought the opinion of its legal department whether they could offer Aamir employment again. "The bank has been told that there was no bar to employing Amir as he was banned and convicted outside Pakistan and didn't spend time in Pakistani jail under Pakistani laws," the source said. He also stated that the bank had been told that only its Board of Directors could approve the employment of Amir.

Some former professionals have said he should not be allowed back into international cricket, but Amir vowed to win over the worrywarts with his bowling - and promised to behave from now on. "If anyone has any problem with my return, I am sure he will change his views with my character and good performances," he said. "My job is to play and do well and I am sure that I will return to international cricket as a better player and better human being and that's my aim."

Legendary Pakistani left-arm quick Wasim Akram, to whom Amir was compared, said it was right to give the youngster a second chance. "A young boy committed a blunder and for that he has been punished. As a nation we must forgive as he has completed the rehab mandatory for banned players. We must adopt a 'forget and forgive' policy and Amir should also show that he is now a better human being,” Wasim added.

PCB lawyer Tafazzul Rizvi said Amir would be monitored closely during his return to domestic matches. "The ICC code was followed in the process and now PCB will monitor Amir's behaviour in the next few months and only after that will he be eligible to return to international cricket," Rizvi added.

Earlier, the ICC gave permission for the 22-year-old to return to the game in the country with immediate effect. The move brings Amir a step closer to a return to international cricket and a measure of redemption for his part in one of the most scandalous episodes in modern cricket.

Amir was one of the three cricketers handed bans of at least five years for arranging no-balls to order in a Test against England at Lord's in 2010. His ban was due to expire on September 2, but the ICC's Anti-Corruption and Security Unit (ACSU) used discretionary powers to allow him to return to domestic cricket early.

"ACSU chairman Sir Ronnie Flanagan, with the prior approval of the ICC Board and the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB), has exercised his discretion to allow Amir to return to domestic cricket played under the auspices of the PCB with immediate effect," the ICC said in a statement.

The ACSU said it was satisfied Amir had shown remorse and cooperated in the fight against fixing by recording messages for education sessions. Cricket, and Pakistani cricket in particular, has struggled with the scourge of corruption in recent years and there has been some disquiet about Amir's return to the game.