Pakistan’s ODI captain Azhar Ali and opening batsman Mohammad Hafeez agreed Saturday to join a cricket training camp after previously staying away to protest the inclusion of Mohammad Amir, who served a ban for spot fixing.
The Pakistan Cricket Board included Amir among the 26 players selected for the camp after the left-arm fast bowler completed his rehabilitation program, having served a five-year ban for bowling deliberate no-balls during a Test match against England in 2010.
Both senior cricketers expressed their concerns about Amir in a meeting with PCB chairman Shaharyar Khan before agreeing to join the camp.
“I do respect their concerns but some of them, I told them, are not acceptable,” Khan told reporters.
“They understood and confirmed that they are on the same page with us and now we are looking forward to the success of the team.”
Both players were due at the camp last Thursday but refused to do so with Ali reportedly saying that he would not attend “as long as Amir is there.”
Amir came to the attention of selectors for January’s limited-overs tour to New Zealand after claiming 14 wickets in Bangladesh’s domestic twenty20 league earlier this month.
The PCB said that Amir is eligible for national selection after serving his punishment.
“It is now their responsibility – Azhar as captain and Hafeez as a senior player – to take him (Amir) like a family,” Khan said.
In November, Hafeez reportedly refused to join Bangladesh’s Chittagong Vikings, where Amir played.
“I have forgiven all who have damaged the integrity of Pakistan cricket through corruption but I, in principle, am against corruption and will keep holding this stance forever,” Hafeez said.
“I am happy that the PCB chairman heard my reservations and agreed to safeguard our concerns for the sake of Pakistan cricket.”