Reservations exist over Amir as PCB chief ‘sorts out’ matter
LAHORE: While Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) Shaharyar M Khan stated on Saturday that the turmoil created due to the refusal of Pakistan’s two key players Azhar Ali and Muhammad Hafeez to train alongside tainted paceman Mohammad Amir has been amicably resolved, it seems that both the players still have some serious reservations on the issue.
Talking to media here on Saturday morning, the PCB chairman said that he had met the three players — Amir, Azhar and Hafeez — and after listening to their versions, sorted out the matter.
“I believe some of the reservations of Azhar and Hafeez are genuine, but some are not and now they have also understood the situation and are coming to join the fitness camp,” said Shaharyar. “Inshallah we will move forward to get better results for Pakistan cricket and there will be no such issue in the future.”
However, Haeez later spoke to the media and said: “Yes, I have pardoned Amir and have agreed to join the camp.
However, my basic stance remains the same that those who betrayed the nation should not be allowed to represent the country again.”
Sources also claimed that Azhar has made up his mind that he will not lead Pakistan team in the ODIs against New Zealand, if Amir is selected in the squad.
Meanwhile, Shaharyar also admitted that the PCB had committed a mistake when the committee which was assigned to liaise with the other players over Amir’s issue could not convey the real situation to him (PCB chief) well in time.
“Yes, that was a mistake, but I also told the two players that they have also made a mistake by taking a decision without having a meeting with me,” he said.
“I have told them (Azhar, Hafeez) that the PCB has just called Amir for the training camp and has not selected him in the Pakistan team and if Amir will be selected, it is responsibility of the captains and all senior players to support him,” Shaharyar maintained.
He said the PCB would continue to monitor Amir’s on and off the field attitude before taking a final decision about his selection.
Interestingly, a decision of the team management which was taken while finalising the programme of the fitness camp, will see 26 probables divided into two pools.
The first pool comprises those players who joined the camp from the very first day and Amir is among them. However, since both Azhar and Hafeez joined the camp on Thursday after their Quaid-i-Azam Trophy match, they are in the second pool and are unlikely to come face to face with Amir.
It may be mentioned that soon after the Pakistan team returned home after playing a full series against England in the UAE, all the three bigwigs of Pakistan cricket including PCB chairman, head coach Waqar Younis and chief selector Haroon Rasheed, in their media talk had given a green signal to the inclusion of Amir in the team while expressing their disappointment over the performance of the team against England in both ODI and T20 series.
After that media talk, all three captains — Misbah-ul-Haq (Test), Shahid Afridi (T20) and even Azhar (ODI) — were quoted in the press that only the PCB is in a position to take a decision about Amir’s future.
However, the recent change in Azhar’s stance definitely raises a number of questions about the team spirit in Pakistan camp.
Cricketing circles also believe that Hafeez and some other players in the team may have influence Azhar to voice his reservations on Amir.
There are also speculations that both Hafeez and Azhar may be fearing that in the next move, the two other tainted players — opener Salman Butt and pacer Mohammad Asif — will also join the team so their position as openers could be under threat.