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Hafeez, Azhar Ali return to training camp

Hafeez, Azhar Ali return to training camp
Both Azhar Ali (left) and Mohammad Hafeez (right) expressed reluctance of joining the training camp due to the presence of Mohammad Amir.
©REUTERS / Action Images

Pakistan One-Day International captain Azhar Ali and all-rounder Mohammad Hafeez have returned to the national training camp in Lahore after meeting with the Pakistan Cricket Board chairman Shahryar Khan.

Hafeez and Ali refused to join the ongoing national training camp as they were opposed to the presence of Mohammad Amir, who is currently vying for a comeback into the national side.

After the completion of his five-year ban for his involvement in the 2010 spot-fixing scandal, Amir was allowed a return to domestic return and the PCB has also declared him eligible for national selection.

Stating that he respects the concerns of the players, Khan disclosed that he made the stance of the board clear to both the players.

“They both met and decided to join the training camp.

“I do respect their concerns but some of them, I told them, are not acceptable.

“So they understood and confirmed that they are on the same page with us and now we are looking forward to the success of the team.” 

The PCB chairman further stressed on the fact that Amir was only selected for the training camp and not into the national team.

Khan went on to add that even if Amir was selected for the Pakistan team, it was the responsibility of Ali and Hafeez to support the 23-year-old.

“We have also conveyed that for a while we have only selected Amir in the training session and he has not been selected in the national team so far,” Khan said.

“But if so (Amir is selected) then they both have to stand with him and should not see him with suspicion or behave badly with him.

“It is now their responsibility - Azhar as captain and him (Hafeez) as a senior player - to take him like a family.

“We, at the same time, will ensure that Amir stays on course and does not commit any mistake in future.” 

After the meeting with the PCB chairman, Hafeez expressed his happiness over the fact that the board listened to his concerns regarding corruption in cricket.

“My stance has been simple all the way, that anyone who damages the pride and integrity of the country should not be given a chance again.

“It was my principle stance and will remain the same throughout my life.

“I am happy that the PCB chairman heard my reservations and agreed to safeguard our concerns for the sake of Pakistan cricket.

“Playing cricket is my passion and I don’t need to convince people about my talent.

“I know I am an average player but I won an honour to represent Pakistan and I vow to contribute to the success of Pakistan.

“I will, in my humble capacity, continue to support every player.” 

The 35-year-old also cleared the air by stating that his opposition was not directed at any individual player but against all those players who indulge in corrupt activities.

“I also want to clarify that my stance wasn’t against any one individual but it was for all who have committed (corruption),” Hafeez said.

“I have forgiven all who have damaged the integrity of the Pakistan cricket through corruption but I, in principle, am against corruption and will keep holding this stance forever.

“I hope people will understand and support me.” 

Earlier in November, Hafeez refused to accept a contract to play in the 2015 Bangladesh Premier League for the Chittagong Vikings due to the presence of Amir in the squad.

© Cricket World 2015