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Mohammad Amir promises wickets and love on comeback trail

LAHORE: Paceman Mohammad Amir, who served a prison term for spot-fixing, said he was ready to respond to his critics with wickets — and love — after being selected on Friday for Pakistan’s limited-overs tour of New Zealand.

The 23-year-old left-armer, who is set to make his international comeback less than four months after completing a five-year ban, remains a polarising figure for Pakistan’s cricket-mad public and even some teammates.

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

In an interview with AFP, Amir said he was confident most fans were on his side.

“I am sure fans will love me,” he said. “But even if there are taunts and harsh remarks I am ready for that and will do my best to reply to them with love and by taking wickets.”

Pakistan will play three Twenty20s and as many one-day internationals in New Zealand later this month.

Amir’s inclusion however remains contingent on him being issued a visa by New Zealand — a potential hurdle given his criminal conviction for his role in arranging deliberate no-balls during Pakistan’s tour of England in 2010, along with two others.

After pleading guilty to conspiracy to cheat at gambling and conspiracy to accept corrupt payments, Amir was handed a six-month jail sentence at the Feltham Young Offenders Institution but was released after three months.

He said: “I have toured New Zealand before and know they love the game and they are so caring and loving, so I don’t expect anything untoward from them.

“I am sure they will adore me,” he added.

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