REUTERS – Fast bowler Mohammad Amir was named in the Pakistan squads on Friday for the limited over New Zealand tour, marking a return to the national team after serving a five-year ban for spot-fixing.
The tainted bowler’s presence in the Lahore preparatory camp had met with objections from some quarters, with one-day skipper Azhar Ali offering to resign.
The Pakistan Cricket Board rejected Azhar’s resignation, and he remains the captain for the 16-member ODI squad. Mohammad Hafeez, another senior player who expressed reservations about playing with Amir, is part of both the ODI and Twenty20 teams.
The 23-year-old Amir was considered one of the most exciting fast bowlers in the world before the 2010 spot-fixing scandal that resulted in bans and jail sentences for him, former test captain Salman Butt and fast bowler Mohammad Asif.
Amir’s selection for the tour is, however, subject to visa approval. The left-arm paceman encounters the problem because of his conviction, chief selector Haroon Rashid told local media.
The bowler had returned to competitive domestic cricket in March and also participated in the recent Bangladesh Premier League. He enjoyed a string of positive matches with the Chittagong Vikings.
Amir will face stiff competition for a place in the ODI eleven from three other left-arm pacers – Wahab Riaz, Rahat Ali and Mohammad Irfan.
Starting on Jan. 15, Pakistan will play three Twenty20 Internationals followed by three one-dayers in New Zealand.
ODI squad: Azhar Ali (captain), Ahmed Shehzad, Mohammad Hafeez, Shoaib Malik, Asad Shafiq, Babar Azam, Sohaib Maqsood, Zafar Gohar, Imad Wasim, Anwar Ali, Sarfraz Ahmed, Wahab Raiz, Rahat Ali, Mohammad Irfan, Mohammad Rizwan, Mohammad Amir.
T20 squad: Shahid Afridi (captain), Ahmed Shehzad, Mohammad Hafeez, Sohaib Maqsood, Shoaib Malik, Umar Akmal, Iftikhar Ahmed, Imad Wasim, Anwar Ali, Aamer Yamin, Sarfraz Ahmed, Wahab Riaz, Umar Gul, Mohammad Rizwan, Saad Nasim, Mohammad Amir.
(Reporting by Chris Peters in Bengaluru; editing by Amlan Chakraborty)