Afridi backs Amir's return to international cricket

Karachi: Jan 2; Pakistan's T20 captain Shahid Afridi has backed the return of tainted left-arm pacer Mohammad Amir to international cricket and insisted he deserved a second chance for speaking the truth.

Amir, 23, returned to the Pakistan squad for the limited-overs away series against New Zealand, completing a cycle of redemption following his spectacular fall from grace in the 2010 spot-fixing scandal.

"We now need to move on and I will back Amir and expect him to serve Pakistan cricket with total dedication and commitment," Afridi wrote on his twitter handle.

The star all-rounder added, "Happy to have Amir back in the team."

Afridi later told the media that Amir had told him the truth about his involvement in the spot-fixing scandal the first time he asked him in England.

"He admitted his mistake and we should back him now."

Amir, who served a five-year ban and jail time for indulging in spot-fixing during the 2010 tour of England, was expected to make the squad after being brought back into the national camp despite resentment by fellow players.

Afridi, however, added he respected the stance taken by some players on Amir's return to the team, including teammates Azhar Ali and Mohammad Hafeez.

"I respect Azhar and Hafeez's stance. We suffered a lot due to spot-fixing scandal and our image was tarnished everywhere," he said.

Afridi said Amir's honesty had earned him a second chance.

"Amir spoke the truth both to courts and the Pakistani public, unlike the rest who kept lying for two-three years," he added.

Afridi said that former players, critics and fans should back Amir when he returns to the field.

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