Pakistan Cricket Board Chairman Shaharyar Khan hinted that opener Mohammad Hafeez and Azhar Ali may face disciplinary action after the duo boycotted a fitness training camp which also included the spot-fixing tainted pacer Mohammad Amir.
Shaharyar was quoted as saying by BBC Urdu: “We have talked earlier regarding this matter and we will talk again, but still if they (Azhar and Hafeez) do not agree then the PCB will think about a disciplinary action against them.”
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 national 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.
Misbah warns of unpredictable repercussions of Amir’s return
Test skipper Misbahul Haq warned that Amir’s return to the national side will bring a host of challenges for the team management.
Amir is on the brink of return to the Pakistan side following impressive performances since he was allowed to play professional cricket again after a ban following conviction in the famous spot-fixing saga in 2010.
The 23-year-old initially caused destruction through his bowling in Grade II cricket and then went on the take 14 wickets in nine matches during the recently concluded Bangladesh Premier League (BPL).
During an interview to BBC Urdu on Thursday, Misbah said that Amir’s comeback to the side will not put an end to the already long-lasting issue, but new intricacies will rise.
“The concern regarding Amir’s return is a complicated subject,” said Misbah.
“Me as the Test captain, players in the team and the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) will have to go through a testing process after Amir comes back.”
Misbah believed repercussions of Amir’s return to the national team are unpredictable.
“The reaction of cricket fans and the media when Amir comes back into the side is very uncertain and hard to predict.”
The middle-order batsman said the captain in charge and the team management will have to face a lot when Amir comes back.
“It will surely be difficult for the Pakistan captains when they will have Amir playing under them,” said Misbah.
“They will have to face questions from media when they travel to places like England.
“It will be much easier for them within the country though,” added the Mianwali born cricketer.
Misbah also hoped that the PCB will be successful in clearing the concerns of the players who have voiced their disapproval towards Amir’s return.