Lahore: A Pakistani court on Tuesday rejected a petition against the inclusion of convicted spot-fixer Mohammad Amir in the national cricket team, clearing the last hurdle to his predicted comeback after a five-year ban.
Amir, 23, was one of three Pakistan players banned for arranging deliberate no-balls as part of a betting scam during a Test match in England 2010. The two other were the then-Test captain Salman Butt and bowler Mohammad Asif. All three were also sentenced to six months in prison in Britain.
The prospect of the trio returning to national colours after serving their bans has polarised opinions, with one lawyer petitioning the Lahore High Court to issue a stay order against a recall for Amir. Justice Shahid Bilal Hasan rejected the petition, according to the Pakistan Cricket Board's legal adviser Taffazul Rizvi.
"I pleaded the case on behalf of the PCB and our opinion is that Amir completed his ban and as per country's constitution he has every right to play cricket," Rizvi told AFP. "The judge on hearing the arguments rejected the petition filed by a lawyer, Munsif Awan," he added. Pakistan's selectors included Amir in a fitness camp staged to select the squad for next month's tour of New Zealand.
Because of his extraordinary wicket-taking form Amir is tipped to be in the squad.
The squad for the three one-dayers and three Twenty20 internationals is likely to be announced in the next couple of days. Amir, who was 18 at the time of his conviction, pleaded guilty to spot-fixing in 2011, while Butt and Asif maintained their innocence until all their appeals were exhausted. Legendary Pakistan pacemen Imran Khan and Wasim Akram have also backed Amir's return to international cricket.
"We also informed the court that Amir will play under the microscopic eyes of the ICC (International Cricket Council) and the PCB," said Rizvi.