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Tainted pacer Amir’s return will strengthen Pakistan: Akram 

Karachi, Dec 9 (IANS) Legendary fast bowler Wasim Akram backed the return of tainted left-arm pacer Mohammad Amir to the Pakistan cricket team, saying his inclusion will strength the squad.

Amir made a return to competitive cricket earlier this year after serving out a ban for his role in spot-fixing during Pakistan’s tour to England in 2010.

“Amir has paid for his crime and must now be allowed back to the team. Amir’s return will strengthen Pakistan as he is currently the best bowler,” Akram was quoted as saying by The Dawn on Wednesday.

The former Pakistan captain was of the opinion that Amir needed to feature in more first-class games to get back in the groove but put his weight behind the 23-year-old’s selection in the World Twenty20 squad.

Akram echoed the words of Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chairman Shaharyar Khan who earlier this week hinted that Amir may be considered for the series against New Zealand in January next year.

“Yes, we are looking at a him for this series and he could return to the national side on the tour,” he said.

Former captain Ramiz Raja, known to be critical of PCB’s sympathy towards tainted fast bowler, said if he had powers to make a call on the matter, he would have never let the young fast bowler play again.

“Pakistan cricket has suffered a lot. I don’t have courage to face any more shocks or jolts again. I have experienced this practically and those who have witnessed such things practically can’t forgive the characters involved in the act,” Raja said.

However, Pakistan coach Waqar Younis, who had a detailed discussion on Amir’s future with Shaharyar Khan last week, backed Amir and said “we are all on the same page” about the young fast bowler’s future in international cricket.

“Amir has served his punishment and he deserves to come back in the cricketing community and enhance his profession,” Waqar said after his meeting with Khan.

Since his return, Amir has taken 22 wickets in a Grade II tournament before capturing an impressive 34 in the four qualifying matches of the Quaid-e-Azam trophy.

He then grabbed 17 wickets in Pakistan’s premier first-class tournament, the Quaid-e-Azam trophy.

In the Bangladesh Premier League, featuring for the Chittagong Vikings, Amir has picked up 14 wickets from 9 matches.

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