Hafeez, Azhar stay away from camp due to Amir's presence
Pakistan's ODI captain Azhar Ali and veteran allrounder Mohammad Hafeez have chosen to stay away from the ongoing conditioning camp in Lahore, apparently due to Mohammad Amir's inclusion among the probables for the camp. Azhar confirmed that he had stayed away because of Amir and Pakistan's team media manager, Agha Akbar, said Hafeez's absence was also apparently for the same reason.
Amir, who is in the selection mix after serving a five-year ban for his role in the 2010 spot-fixing scandal, was one of the 26 probables named for the pre-season conditioning camp in the build-up to the New Zealand tour. Both Hafeez and Azhar were playing domestic matches in Karachi and had missed the first three days of the camp which began on December 21. They were scheduled to join the camp on Thursday, but Agha Akbar confirmed that the pair did not train with the side.
"Both are not joining the training camp today apparently because of Mohammad Amir," Akbar told ESPNcricinfo.
Azhar was more direct. "I will not attend the camp as long as Amir is there," he said. "This is my decision and we are open to discuss with the PCB. I don't want to comment on Hafeez's decision, but we both have the same stance.'"
In November, Hafeez had reportedly turned down an offer in the Bangladesh Premier League from the Chittagong Vikings franchise, who had enlisted Amir. Hafeez told ESPNcricinfo that he could not play "with any player who has tarnished and brought a bad name to the country", but was open to accepting an offer from a different franchise. He stressed that this was his personal opinion.
In November 2011, Amir - along with Salman Butt and Mohammad Asif - was sentenced in a London Court on charges conspiracy to accept corrupt payments and conspiracy to cheat at gambling after a plot was uncovered in a News of the World sting operation to bowl deliberate no-balls in a Test against England in 2010. Amir was given a six-month jail sentence and served half of it at the Portland Young Offenders Institution in Dorset
He was also given a five-year ban by the ICC, and his suspension period formally ended on September 1 this year. Amir had been allowed to return to cricket ahead of schedule by the ICC in January and has since featured in Pakistan's domestic T20 and first-class competitions. He was also a part of the BPL 2015-16, playing nine matches for the Chittagong Vikings franchise.
Umar Farooq is ESPNcricinfo's Pakistan correspondent. @kalson