Karachi: The Pakistan Cricket Board is apparently trying to pacify ODI captain Azhar Ali and opening batsman Mohammad Hafeez after they refused to join the national conditioning camp in Lahore on Thursday, protesting against the presence of tainted left-arm pacer Mohammad Aamir.
Azhar Ali told Geo News channel that they don’t want to take part in a camp which includes Aamir, who served a ban for spot-fixing. “But we are willing to discuss the matter with only the PCB Chairman Shaharyar Khan,” Azhar said.
According to sources aware of the developments, Hafeez and Azhar reported for the camp in the morning session but did not return back for the second session. “A message was conveyed to the team management including head coach Waqar Younis that the two are not comfortable training with Aamir and will not return till he is there,” one source said.
The development comes just one day after the PCB pleaded with former players, critics and commentators who are against Aamir’s return to the national team, to forgive the tainted fast bowler. Amir’s bid to make a comeback to the national side was given a major boost last week after he was invited for the national conditioning camp and also picked up in the Pakistan Super League players draft. “Hafeez and Azhar attended the camp in the morning but have not reported back,” PCB media manager Agha Akbar confirmed without giving details about their whereabouts.
Hafeez had earlier turned down an offer from Chittagong Vikings to feature in the Bangladesh Premier League as the franchise had already signed Aamir. The former captain said he could not share a dressing room with a player who has tarnished the image of Pakistan. “It is not about individuals or any personality clash. It is about the image of Pakistan cricket. I cannot play with any player who has tarnished and brought a bad name to the country,” Hafeez had told the media.
Former Pakistan Test captains Ramiz Raja and Rashid Latif and ex-Test opener and head coach Mohsin Khan have been very critical about allowing Aamir or the two other players Salman Butt and Mohammad Asif back in the team after serving their spot-fixing bans. Raja, who is also the ambassador of Pakistan Super League (PSL), said that if he had powers to make a call on the matter, he would have never let Aamir play again.