McCullum backs tainted Amir’s inclusion in Pakistan squad

Wellington, Jan. 03 (ANI): Brendon McCullum has thrown his support behind Mohammad Amir, saying that the disgraced Pakistan fast bowler should get the ‘benefit of the doubt’ after being named in the national squad for the upcoming series against New Zealand.

The 23-year-old left-hander received a five-year ban from all forms of cricket and served three months in prison for his role in the 2010 spot-fixing scandal.

He has been selected in the national squad for the first time since his conviction. However, it is subject to the granting of a visa by the New Zealand authorities.

McCullum said that the International Cricket Council had allowed Amir to make some steps back into international cricket, adding that the convicted spot-fixer was a very young man during that time and had gone through a sound rehabilitation programme, reported.

The swashbuckling opener insisted the inclusion of Amir hadn’t dominated their team discussions, admitting that they would instead focus their attention on the Pakistan lineup when the tourists arrive in New Zealand.

Considered as one of the most promising talents, Amir had taken 51 wickets in 14 Tests and 25 in 15 one-day internationals before he was handed a five-year ban for bowling deliberate no-balls by pre-arrangement during the fourth test against England at Lord’s in 2010.

Earlier, the tainted bowler was included in the 26-member national fitness camp in Lahore, whose return in the camp saw divided opinions from the national team.

Amir displayed impressive form in domestic matches as well as in the Bangladesh Premier League after ending his five-year ban for spot-fixing four months ago.

Pakistan will play three-match ODIs and three-match T20s starting from January 15. (ANI)

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