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03 March 2024

Tainted Pakistan bowler Amir granted visa for New Zealand

By Reuters

Fast bowler Mohammad Amir, who spent time in jail and served a five-year ban for spot-fixing, has been granted a visa to travel to New Zealand for Pakistan's limited overs matches later this month, immigration officials said on Thursday.

The 23-year-old was considered one of the most exciting fast bowlers in the world before the 2010 spot-fixing scandal that resulted in bans and jail sentences for him, former Test captain Salman Butt and fast bowler Mohammad Asif.

The trio were cleared to return to the sport by the International Cricket Council (ICC) in September after serving suspensions.

“Immigration New Zealand (INZ) can confirm that a visitor visa has been approved for Mohammad Amir to travel as part of the Pakistan Cricket Team set to tour New Zealand this month,” INZ Area Manager Michael Carley said in a statement.

“In making this decision, INZ considered factors including the support of the New Zealand and Pakistan Cricket Board and that Mr Amir had served his sentence for his previous actions.

“Taking into account all the circumstances and with full understanding of the purpose of his visit, a visa has been approved for Mr Amir.”

The left-arm fast bowler's inclusion in a 26-man training squad for the tour had caused some controversy within the Pakistan ranks, with one-day captain Azhar Ali offering to resign.

The Pakistan Cricket Board rejected Azhar's resignation, though another member of the team, Mohammad Hafeez, had also expressed reservations about playing with Amir.

Pakistan play three T20 and three one-day international matches on the tour, which starts on January 15.