Turned down BPL offer to avoid Amir, says Hafeez
Mohammad Hafeez, the Pakistan batsman, has said he will not share a dressing room with any player who has tarnished the image of Pakistan cricket. His declaration comes after an Urdu newspaper, Jang, reported that Hafeez had turned down a lucrative offer from Bangladesh Premier League franchise Chittagong Vikings to play in BPL 2015-16, because Chittagong have Mohammad Amir in their squad.
"I am not against any individuals," Hafeez told ESPNcricinfo. "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. But, yes, if any other team offered me the contract with good money I could definitely play the BPL. Otherwise I prefer playing for my domestic team, SNGPL, in Quaid-e-Azam trophy at home.
"This is my personal opinion and this is not just about Pakistani players, it's about all players. We play for the public and entertain them with a sporting spirit, and once someone abuses the role he has to play in the game… I cannot play and share a dressing room with such players who have abused the spirit of the game."
It was reported by the newspaper that Hafeez turned down an offer of around Rs 10 million from Chittagong. The franchise, however, denied extending any offer to the batsman. He was not selected in the drafting process while other Pakistan players were chosen in the draft and big-name players like Misbah-ul-Haq and Shahid Afridi were signed outside the draft.
Hafeez said he had received the offer through an agent, without revealing any names - he said he does not have an exclusive agent but the offer came through various sources. "I didn't get a direct offer from the BPL team but some agent came up with the offer and I turned it down only because I didn't want to share a dressing room with that player," Hafeez said. "Otherwise I am open to playing for any other team."
This is the first time a player from the Pakistan team has publicly objected to playing with a tainted player. There have been reports that Ahmed Shehzad had previously objected to playing with Amir as well, but Test captain Misbah has been seen mingling with Amir, Salman Butt and Mohammad Asif at National Cricket Academy nets in Lahore. PCB chairman Shaharyar Khan also previously said that there were some players who did not want to play with these three, who had been found guilty of spot-fixing in the Lord's Test of 2010, but had their bans lifted this year as per ICC protocol.
Misbah said Hafeez was welcome to his personal opinion, but he felt the BPL would be a good gauge to see how Amir measures up against top-class players after returning to domestic cricket this year. "It is pretty much his personal decision," Misbah said. "[But] I think a better judge of that is the ICC and PCB. And especially the audience, the supporters, they really need to decide.
"For Amir, I think it's good for him. He has been playing domestic cricket, so it's a tournament where he can share the experience of some of the international players and see where he is at the moment."
With inputs from Mohammad Isam.
Umar Farooq is ESPNcricinfo's Pakistan correspondent. @kalson