Azhar, Hafeez ‘boycott’ training camp over Amir's inclusion

Published December 24, 2015
Mohammad Hafeez celebrates his half century with teammate Azhar Ali during the second day of the first cricket Test against Bangladesh in Khulna on April 29, 2015. — AFP/File
Mohammad Hafeez celebrates his half century with teammate Azhar Ali during the second day of the first cricket Test against Bangladesh in Khulna on April 29, 2015. — AFP/File

Pakistan's plans for next year's World Twenty20 have suffered a major setback after ODI captain Azhar Ali and opener Mohammad Hafeez boycotted a fitness training camp which also included the spot-fixing tainted pacer Mohammad Amir.

Amir's bid to make a comeback to the national side was given a major boost last week after the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) inducted the fast bowler in a camp for 26 players which also includes T20 captain Shahid Afridi.

And on Wednesday the board issued a detailed press release backing Amir's return to the national setup going as far as saying that “even Islam calls for forgiveness in such cases.”

But PCB's efforts to reintegrate the pacer back into the Pakistan side took a hit on Thursday after Ali and Hafeez failed to 'report to the camp' at the National Cricket Academy in Lahore.

“Hafeez and Azhar Ali attended the camp in the morning but have not reported back,” PCB media manager Agha Akbar told Dawn without divulging too many details.

Azhar, however, went public with his opposition soon after the development was reported in the news.

“We will not take part in a camp which also includes Amir. We will not back down on our stance but are willing to discuss the matter with PCB chairman Shaharyar Khan,” Azhar was quoted as saying by Geo News.

In November, Hafeez turned down an offer from Chittagong Vikings to feature in the Bangladesh Premier League as the franchise had already signed Amir.


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Hafeez reportedly turned down an offer of around 10 million Pakistani rupees as the franchise snapped up Amir in a pre-draft deal.

The former captain said he could not 'share a dressing room with a player who tarnished the image of Pakistan.'

“It is not about individuals or any personality clash. It is about the image of Pakistan cricket. I cannot play with any player who has tarnished and brought a bad name to the country,” Hafeez was quoted as saying by ESPNCricinfo.

“This is my personal opinion and this is not just about Pakistani players, it's about all players,” the 35-year-old added.

“I didn't get a direct offer from the BPL team but some agent came up with the offer and I turned it down only because I didn't want to share a dressing room with that player.”

Earlier this month, former captain and ambassador of the Pakistan Super League (PSL), Ramiz Raja, was critical of the PCB's sympathy towards Amir and said that 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,” said Ramiz, in an interview.

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