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21 February 2024

Amir should be given 'benefit of doubt', says McCullum

Pakistan cricket batting coach Grant Flower (right) watches as bowler Mohammad Amir delivers a ball during a team practice session at a camp ahead of the New Zealand tour, in Lahore on January 2, 2016. (AFP)

By Agencies

New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum says tainted bowler Mohammad Amir should be given “the benefit of the doubt” and allowed to play for Pakistan in limited-overs matches in New Zealand this month.

Amir has been named in the Pakistan squad which will play three Twenty20 and as many one-day games against New Zealand over the next three weeks but his participation depends on New Zealand immigration officials allowing him a visa.

The fast bowler was only 18 when he handed a five-year ban from cricket in 2011 for his involvement in spot fixing.

He also served three months of a six month prison term.

His ban, imposed by the International Cricket Council, has now ended and McCullum said Sunday he should be allowed to resume his career.

“He was a very young man at the time and he's gone through a sound rehabilitation program,” McCullum said.

“If he gets out on the field against us, then you play against the man you're playing against, not a man who may have made some mistakes as a youngster,” added the explosive batsman.

New Zealand Cricket chief executive David White also supported Amir's inclusion in the Pakistan squad but stressed that was a personal view and not that of his organization.

“He was a very, very young man, a boy really (when he was suspended),” White said.

“He showed remorse at the time, admitted to it. He's gone through all the rehabilitation and education as prescribed by the ICC.

“I'm personally comfortable with him coming to New Zealand and playing,” added White.

New Zealand's immigration department issued a statement before Christmas saying it had not yet received a visa application for Amir and would consider one when it is received.

A decision is likely next week.