Mohammad Amir looks set to play international cricket for the first time since 2010, after being inlcuded in Pakistan's latest twenty20 and one-day international squads. The 23-year-old paceman was previously jailed and banned from the sport, alongside teammates Salman Butt and Mohammad Asif, for his part in a spot-fixing scandal that involved bowling deliberate no-balls in a Test match against England at Lord's.
Amir, just 18 at the time of the controversy and widely regarded as one of the game's most exciting young talents, served half of his six-month sentence at a young offender's institution in Portland, Dorset before being released in February 2012. His five-year suspension from cricket ended prematurely when he was cleared by the International Cricket Council's (ICC) anti-corruption and security unit to return to domestic action early last year.
Rumours that he could make his comeback for Pakistan against England in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) eventually proved unfounded, despite that aforementioned ban being completely lifted in September. Instead, his long-awaited comeback looks set to come in New Zealand during a tour that includes three T20 contests and a further three ODI matches. The first limited-overs meeting is scheduled to get underway in Auckland on 15 January.
"While picking the squads, the team management and skippers of each of the two formats were consulted by the selectors, and all concerned gave their consent in this regard," head of the selection committee Haroon Rashid said in an official Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) press release.
"With the ICC World T20 slated for March-April 2016, the T20 team has been selected with a view to provide opportunities to everyone likely to feature in the squad for the global event. The team is a fine blend of experience and youth and the selectors believe that it would acquit itself well on the tour."
Amir's availability for the tour is subject to one final caveat, with Rashid adding: "On his international comeback, Mohammad Amir will travel with the team subject to grant of visa by the New Zealand government".
Amir's imminent return to the international fold has previously ruffled a few feathers inside the Pakistan setup. Last week, Mohammad Hafeez and ODI captain Azhar Ali boycotted a training session in Lahore to protest against the decision to include the player in a 26-man camp before agreeing to return following productive talks with PCB chairman Shahryar Khan.
Responding to his selection via Facebook, Amir said: "I would like to thank everyone for their patience and support. God almighty has blessed me with a opportunity to wear the green shirt again. The dream becomes a reality again as I look forward to repay all through my performance."