Mohammad Amir's international return may have been a contentious issue in Pakistan cricket, but Twenty20 skipper Shahid Afridi welcomed him with open arms, saying he is "happy" with the young pacer's comeback to the limited-overs squad. (Mohammad Amir Named in Pakistan Squad For New Zealand Series)
Pakistan Cricket Board included Amir in the ODI and T20 squads for the away series against New Zealand, giving him a lifeline to make amends for his spot-fixing act in 2010.
"Happy to have Amir back in team," Afridi today wrote on his twitter handle. "He told me truth first time I asked him in England. He admitted his mistake we should back him now." (Mohammad Amir Promises Wickets And Love on Comeback Trail)
Happy to have Amir back in team. He told me truth first time I asked him in England. He admitted his mistake we should back him now3/4- Shahid Afridi (@SAfridiOfficial) January 1, 2016
Amir's return has been a subject of debate in national cricket with teammates Mohammad Hafeez and ODI skipper Azhar Ali even threatening to leave the team if the tainted pacer was selected. Though Pakistan Cricket Board chief Shahryar Khan intervened in the matter and reasoned with players, the opinions still seem to be divided in the Pakistan camp.
Afridi said he respected Azhar and Hafeez's stance. "We suffered a lot due to spot fixing scandal and our image was tarnished everywhere," he tweeted.Â (Azhar Ali, Mohammad Hafeez Refuse to Join Camp in Presence of Mohammad Amir)
I respect Azhar and Hafeez'a stance. We suffered a lot due to spot fixing scandal and our image was tarnished everywhere.- Shahid Afridi (@SAfridiOfficial) January 1, 2016
But the swashbuckling all-rounder opined that moving forward is the way to go.
"We now need to move on and I will back Amir and expect him to serve Pakistan cricket with total dedication and commitment," Afridi added.
Amir, who served a five-year ban and jail time for indulging in spot-fixing during the 2010 tour of England, was expected to make the squad after being brought back into the national camp despite some resentment by fellow players.