‘A dollar for you’: Hafeez comes to Amir’s rescue

Published January 25, 2016
Amir walks from the field injured during the first ODI against New Zealand at the Basin Reserve in Wellington on January 25, 2016. — AFP
Amir walks from the field injured during the first ODI against New Zealand at the Basin Reserve in Wellington on January 25, 2016. — AFP

As Mohammad Amir ran in to bowl at the pacy Basin Reserve in Wellington on Monday, a section of the crowd began to taunt him. Amir must have anticipated such a scenario as he was preparing to make a comeback from a five-year spot-fixing ban.

But what transpired during the first ODI left the 23-year-old disturbed, sources in the team revealed.

As Amir returned to his fielding position on the boundary, an individual from the same section of the stands began waving currency notes.

Observing the situation from a distance, Pakistan’s senior players and former captain Mohammad Hafeez – who had been among the ones most vocal against Amir’s return into the squad – stepped in to the young fast bowler’s rescue.

Hafeez and the other players reported it to the Pakistan team’s security in-charge and the ground staff was requested to intervene. The Basin Reserve’s security proceeded to the stand and issued a sound warning to that individual.

Sources speaking after the match said the person in question was told to ‘behave’ or face ejection from the stadium.

Hafeez and one-day international skipper Azhar Ali were strictly against Amir’s return to Pakistan colours. They went as far as boycotting a national training camp because of the left-arm pacer’s presence.

But Hafeez in particular had taken an extremely harsh stance on the issue. He had reportedly turned down an offer from a Bangladesh Premier League franchise having Amir in their lineup, and refused to face the young fast bowler during one of the nets session at the Gaddafi Stadium.

Hafeez had always maintained that “it is about the image of Pakistan cricket”.

Today in Wellington, donning Pakistan colours, seeing his teammate being sledged at, Hafeez lived up to his words.

In a separate development, a bunch of reporters in Lahore posed a tricky question to PCB supremo Shaharyar Khan after Amir bowled a wide off his first delivery back in ODIs.

Khan, who took over the board’s chairmanship in August 2014, was quick in rubbishing their suspicions.

“A wide and a no-ball in cricket is as natural as winning and losing. I am satisfied with Amir’s performance,” he said.

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