Hafeez and Azhar return to Pakistan training camp
One-day captain Azhar Ali and opening batsman Mohammad Hafeez have agreed to join a Pakistan conditioning camp following discussions over the controversial inclusion of Mohammad Amir.
Shamed seamer Amir is eligible for international selection once more, having served a five-year ban for his role in the 2010 spot-fixing scandal, and was included in a 26-man training group as part of Pakistan’s preparations for an upcoming tour of New Zealand.
Both Azhar and Hafeez subsequently opted to stay away from the camp, with the former saying: “I will not attend the camp as long as Amir is there.”
However, Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chairman Shaharyar Khan announced on Saturday that talks have resulted in the senior duo returning to the fold.
“They both met and decided to join the training camp,” Khan said, in quotes reported by ESPN Cricinfo.
“I do respect their concerns but some of them, I told them, are not acceptable. So they understood and confirmed that they are on the same page with us and now we are looking forward to the success of the team.”
“We have also conveyed that for a while we have only selected Amir in the training session and he has not been selected in the national team so far.
“But if so [Amir is selected] then they both have to stand with him and should not see him with suspicion or behave badly with him. It is now their responsibility – Azhar as captain and him [Hafeez] as a senior player – to take him like a family.
“We, at the same time, will ensure that Amir stays on course and does not commit any mistake in future.”
Hafeez reportedly told local media after the talks: “My stance has been simple all the way, that anyone who damages the pride and integrity of the country should not be given a chance again. It was my principle stance and will remain the same throughout my life.
“I am happy that the PCB chairman heard my reservations and agreed to safeguard our concerns for the sake of Pakistan cricket. Playing cricket is my passion and I don’t need to convince people about my talent.”