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Cricket: Amir granted visa into New Zealand

Pakistan bowler Mohammad Amir. Photo / Getty
Pakistan bowler Mohammad Amir. Photo / Getty

Immigration New Zealand has confirmed the approval of a visitor visa for convicted spot fixer Mohammad Amir to travel as part of the Pakistan team to tour New Zealand this month.

INZ considered factors including the support of the New Zealand and Pakistan cricket boards, and that Amir had served his sentence for taking bribes.

After debuting in 2009, Amir became one of cricket's finest emerging pace bowlers before cheating with two older and more experienced cronies.

A News of the World sting, saw him, teammate Mohammad Asif and captain Salman Butt go to prison for spot-fixing in February 2011.

Selected as a 17-year-old against Sri Lanka, he was the youngest player to take 50 test wickets, scything through England using conventional and reverse swing. He was the man of that tainted series before evidence emerged of him no-balling by excessive margins at Lord's.

Amir served a five-year ban from cricket and three months' jail. The International Cricket Council approved his return.

Since his ban, he has excelled in domestic first-class cricket (16 wickets at 14.87 in four matches) and the Bangladesh Premier League (14 wickets at 12.64 in nine matches). As Pakistan chief selector Haroon Rasheed admitted: "We are not undermining other players ... but there is always a difference between normal and extraordinary players."

Last month Amir joined a 26-man conditioning camp in Lahore. Each squad member is understood to have signed a bond guaranteeing no quibbles with his selection.

ODI captain Azhar Ali and opening batsman Mohammad Hafeez opposed the pace bowler joining the camp before they met with Pakistan Cricket Board chairman Shaharyar Khan and were told to accept Amir. Khan rejected Ali's offer to quit the captaincy.

- NZ Herald

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