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Sports

Cricket: Pakistan Twenty20’s Shaid Afridi backs Amir’s return

media India's Umesh Yadav during a practice session before the fourth and final test cricket match against South Africa in New Delhi Reuters/Anindito Mukherjee

Pakistan's Twenty20 captain Shahid Afridi Saturday backed Mohammad Amir's return to international cricket, saying the team must move on, after the paceman was selected for the national squad for the New Zealand tour.

Last Friday, the 23-year-old left-armer was selected for the Twenty20 and one-day international teams for an upcoming series in New Zealand.

This marks his international comeback less than four months after completing a five-year ban for match fixing.

Amir, once regarded as the hottest property in international cricket, remains a dividing figure for Pakistan's cricket fans and even for some of his teammates.

Amir's return to the squad was opposed by one-day captain Azhar Ali and former Twenty20 captain and current player Mohammad Hafeez.

Last week, Mohammad Hafeez and Azhar Ali left a training camp Amir was attending in protest at his prospective selection. They were later forced to return after being threatened with disciplinary action.

Ali also tendered his resignation Monday in protest, but it was rejected by Pakistan Cricket Board.

“I respect Azhar and Hafeez'a stance. We suffered a lot due to spot-fixing scandal and our image was tarnished everywhere but we must move on," said Afridi.

Pakistan fly to New Zealand on January 10.

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