McCullum backs Amir’s return to Pakistan squad

New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum said on Sunday that Mohammad Amir should be given “the benefit of the doubt” and allowed to play for Pakistan in limited-overs matches in New Zealand this month.

“He was a very young man at the time and he’s gone through a sound rehabilitation programme,” McCullum said, according to the Associated Press.

He added that Amir should be allowed to resume his career saying, “If he gets out on the field against us, then you play against the man you’re playing against, not a man who may have made some mistakes as a youngster.”

New Zealand Cricket chief executive David White also spoke in favour of including Amir in the Pakistan team. However, he did clarify that it was his personal opinion and not that of his organisation.

“He was a very, very young man, a boy really (when he was suspended). He showed remorse at the time, admitted to it. He’s gone through all the rehabilitation and education as prescribed by the ICC. I’m personally comfortable with him coming to New Zealand and playing,” White said.

The left-arm fast-bowler has been included in the T20I and ODI team for the tour of New Zealand, which will start from January 15. However, his participation depends on New Zealand immigration officials allowing him a visa.

New Zealand’s immigration department issued a statement before Christmas saying it had not yet received a visa application for Amir and would consider one when it is received. A decision is likely next week.

The 23-year old is included in the 16-member squad after impressing in domestic competitions since returning from a five-year ban due to his part in the spot-fixing scandal of 2010. He also served three months of a six month prison term.

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