Lahore (Pakistan) – Paceman Mohammad Amir was set to make his return to the Pakistan team after being selected on Friday for an upcoming series in New Zealand, months after completing a five-year spot-fixing ban.
Mohammad Amir practises in the nets in Lahore on December 29, 2015 © AFP Arif Ali
His inclusion in the Twenty20 and one-day international squads remains contingent on him being issued a visa by Wellington — a potential hurdle given Amir’s criminal conviction for his role in arranging deliberate no-balls during Pakistan’s tour of England in 2010.
The scandal, which also involved his captain Salman Butt and fellow bowler Mohammad Asif, was broken by an undercover reporter of the now defunct British tabloid News of the World.
Before the ban Amir was regarded as the hottest property in international cricket, having taken 51 wickets in 14 Tests and 25 in 15 one-day internationals.
He also had 23 wickets in 18 Twenty20 matches.
Chief selector Haroon Rasheed said: “Amir’s inclusion is subject to his visa and he was available for selection after being cleared by the ICC and Pakistan Cricket Board. His recent form has been excellent and that’s why we picked him,” said Rasheed.
Since his ban was relaxed in April last year and completely lifted in September, Amir has been in tremendous form, taking 86 wickets in 21 four-day and Twenty20 games.
The three Twenty20s will take place on January 15, 17 and 22, while the ODIs will be held on January 25, 28 and 31.
Twenty20 Squad: Shahid Afridi (captain), Ahmed Shehzad, Mohammad Hafeez, Shoaib Malik, Iftikhar Ahmed, Mohammad Rizwan, Sohaib Maqsood, Sarfraz Ahmed, Anwar Ali, Imad Wasim, Wahab Riaz, Aamer Yamin, Umar Gul, Umar Akmal, Mohammad Amir, Saad Nasim
One-day 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 Riaz, Rahat Ali, Mohammad Irfan, Mohammad Rizwan, Mohammad Amir
PCB Press Release
Chairman PCB Shaharyar Mohammad Khan has approved the two 16-member Pakistan squads for the six-match T20I and ODI rubbers against New Zealand in the second half of January 2016 at the recommendation of the selection committee headed by Haroon Rashid.
“While picking the squads, the team management and skippers of each of the two formats were consulted by the selectors, and all concerned gave their consent in this regard.
In the first half of the six-match away series, Team Pakistan takes on Black Caps in three T20Is followed by an identical number of one-day internationals.
The T20Is would be played at Auckland, Hamilton and Wellington on January 15, 17 and 22 respectively, while the ODIs have been scheduled at Wellington, Napier and Auckland on January 25, 28 and 31.
“With ICC World T20 slated for March-April 2016, the T20 team has been selected with a view to provide opportunities to everyone likely to feature in the squad for the global event. The team is a fine blend of experience and youth and the selectors believe that it would acquit itself well on the tour”, said chief selector Haroon Rashid
16-member T20I squad:
Ahmed Shehzad, Mohammad Hafeez, Sohaib Maqsood, Shoaib Malik, Umar Akmal, Iftikhar Ahmed, Shahid Afridi (captain), Imad Wasim, Anwar Ali, Amir Yamin, Sarfraz Ahmed (wk), Wahab Riaz, Umar Gul, Mohammad Rizwan, Saad Nasim, Mohammad Amir (Subject to grant of visa).
16-member ODI squad:
Ahmed Shehzad, Azhar Ali (captain), Mohammad Hafeez, Shoaib Malik, Asad Shafiq, Babar Azam, Sohaib Maqsood, Zafar Gohar, Imad Wasim, Anwar Ali, Sarfraz Ahmed (wk), Wahab Riaz, Rahat Ali, Mohammad Irfan, Mohammad Rizwan, Mohammad Amir (Subject to grant of visa).
Chief Selector Haroon Rashid Quotes:
“The team has been selected keeping in view the forthcoming ICC World T20, to be held in March-April 2016 in India.
“The selectors monitored the training and fitness camp to assess the current fitness levels and fielding standards. Imad Wasim is fully fit and his selection is likely to give greater balance to the team combination.
“Umar Gul too is back to full fitness and has bowled well in domestic competition and in the camp as well; we have opted to call him for his experience.
“On his international comeback, Mohammad Amir will travel with the team subject to grant of visa by the New Zealand government”.