Amir set to make return to Pak squad

Lahore, January 1

Paceman Mohammad Amir was set to make his return to Pakistan team after being selected on Friday for an upcoming series in New Zealand, months after completing a five-year spot-fixing ban.

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.”

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.