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Azhar Ali backs Amir’s inclusion for England tour

Johannesburg: Pakistan ODI skipper Azhar Ali has extended his full support towards bowler Mohammad Amir’s presence in the side for the upcoming tour to England, saying that the spot-fixing episode in the pacer’s life was over.

Amir, along with former skipper Salman Butt and Mohammad Asif, were found guilty of various offences of corrupt behaviour relating to the Lord’s Test between England and Pakistan in August 2010 by the independent Anti-Corruption Tribunal on February 5, 2011.

Amir displayed an impressive form since his five-year ban from spot-fixing ended in September last year, having scalped a total of 16 wickets in two ODIs and 11 T20Is he played so far.

Reflecting on the same, Ali insisted that the 2010 case is past and that the team need to move forward from the scandal, Sport24 reported.

Ali further observed that Amir’s return to England could pose additional pressure on him, but hopes that the fast bowler would handle the pressure in the same way as he did on his return in January.

The skipper, however, insisted that his team are fully prepared to back Amir in case any issue arise.

Earlier, Amir’s inclusion in the 26-member training camp for the New Zealand tour last year generated divided opinions within the squad, with Azhar along with veteran all-rounder Mohammad Hafeez refusing to train with him.

Ali had also appealed for resignation as the ODI skipper following Amir’s inclusion, but later agreed to continue his job after the Pakistan Cricket Board rejected his plea.

Insisting that the things have settled for Amir, Ali said that the former had been playing with the team for quite a long time and has gelled with the players.

The Pakistan Cricket Board ( PCB) has requested a visa for Amir to clear his selection for the forthcoming tour to England ahead of the team’s departure on June 18.

Pakistan will tour England for a four-match Test series and a five-match ODI series, starting from July 14 at Lord’s.(ANI)