McCullum: Got to give Amir 'benefit of the doubt'

Mohammad Amir. Photo / Getty
Mohammad Amir. Photo / Getty

Black Caps skipper Brendon McCullum has echoed the words of New Zealand Cricket CEO David White on the pending arrival of convicted spot-fixer Mohammad Amir in the Pakistan squad to tour this month.

White yesterday said he was relaxed about the 23-year-old's inclusion and McCullum has told Tony Veitch that you have to give the fast bowler the "benefit of the doubt".

"The ICC has allowed him to make some steps back into international cricket and we'll give him the benefit of the doubt," McCullum told Veitchy on Sport today.

"There are so many circumstances involved in how each case is played out. He was a very young man at the time and I think he's gone through a sound rehabilitation programme and ultimately if he gets out on the field against us, then you play against the man you're playing against not a man who may have made some mistakes as a youngster.

"In all honesty it hasn't dominated our team discussions. We've had our eyes on other things and once the Pakistan boys arrive here we'll focus our attentions to their lineup."

White believes the Amir has reformed and warrants a second chance.

"My personal view is he was a very, very young man - a boy really [when suspended, aged 18].

"He showed remorse at the time, admitted to it. He's gone through all the rehabilitation and education as prescribed by the ICC. I'm personally comfortable with him coming to New Zealand and playing."

Veitchy on Sport: Listen to the full interview with Brendon McCullum - Part 1

Veitchy on Sport: Listen to the full interview with Brendon McCullum - Part 2

White says Amir's visa application hasn't been discussed at NZC board level but he expects it will be supported by the organisation.

Black Caps coach Mike Hesson was less forthcoming on Amir's inclusion, saying he has a view on the player's international return but was unwilling to share it.

"I think it's more of an administrative decision than a coaching decision," he said.

"We know he's a good player and we're going to have to scout him pretty closely."

Amir toured New Zealand in 2009 and went on to play 14 Tests, taking 51 wickets at an average under 30.

The left-armer, who has impressed at domestic level in recent months, told AFP he hopes for a generous welcome if he takes the field in New Zealand.

"I expect love and affection from New Zealand fans," he said.

"But even if there are taunts and harsh remarks, I am ready for that and will do my best to reply to them with love and by taking wickets."

Amir's inclusion in the Pakistan training squad had created some tension but their T20 skipper, Shahid Afridi, tweeted support for his return.

McCullum meanwhile told Veitch that he's still unsure whether he will play in the fifth and final ODI against Sri Lanka on Tuesday after missing the last game with a back injury.

"It's not healed as well as I would like...we'll see."

- With AAP

- NZ Herald

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