Mohammad Aamer was banned for spot-fixing in 2010 © Getty Images
Mohammad Aamer was banned for spot-fixing in 2010 © Getty Images

Karachi: Keen to put the past behind him after being included in the Pakistan limited-overs squad, left-arm pacer Mohammad Aamer on Friday said he is physically and mentally ready for a comeback to international cricket. Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) included Aamer in the One-Day Intentional (ODI) and T20 International (T20I) squads for the away series against New Zealand, giving him a lifeline to make amends for his spot-fixing act in 2010. Aamer though admitted that making a comeback against an aggressive Kiwi outfit will not be easy. “If I get a chance to play in New Zealand it will not be easy bowling to this [changed] approach but mentally I am prepared for a hard comeback,” Aamer told PTI. READ: Shahid Afridi happy to welcome Mohammad Aamer back into Pakistan team

Knowing the divide in Pakistan cricket regarding his international return, Aamer, whose visa process also remains uncertain with the team leaving for New Zealand on January 10, admits that winning back the favour of one and all will not be easy. “One thing is clear to me I will have to perform really well to win back the confidence of my fans. I am sure they are behind me and I will not let them down,” the 23-year old said.

A PCB official said legal information with regard to Aamer’s conviction and departure from the United Kingdom has been submitted with the New Zealand consulate. The official also informed that if response is positive than Aamer’s visa application will be filed with the consulate when it reopens after Christmas and New Year holidays on Monday. READ: Misbah-ul-Haq: Mohammad Aamer still the same bowler he was 5 years back

Aamer, who served a five-year ban and jail time for indulging in spot-fixing during the 2010 tour of England, also admitted that he has been lucky to get a second chance in the game and understands the feelings of his critics. “I feel bad because of their [critics] strong comments, but it is their opinion the best I can do is repay the faith and support those who feel I should get another chance to play again for Pakistan have shown in me,” he said.

Aamer’s spot fixing ban expired last September but the ICC gave him special permission to resume playing domestic cricket earlier in April 2015. “I know cricket especially ODIs and T20s have undergone changes and the attitude of batsmen is very different now. So it is going to be a big challenge getting back into this mould. But the good thing is that I have followed cricket and other teams closely in the last one year,” he said.

Last week Mohammad Hafeez and Azhar Ali left a training camp in protest against Aamer attending it but PCB Chairman Shaharyar Khan than stepped in to sort out the matter.  Aamer said he has had detailed discussions with Hafeez and Azhar and other players in the team and tried his best to tell them that he was repentant for what he had done and was a reformed person now. READ: Mohammad Aamer named in Pakistan’s ODI, T20I squads for New Zealand 2016 tour

“It was very emotional talking to them but it was necessary. The team management has encouraged me they will do their best to help me settle back in the team,” he said. Aamer said national T20I captain Shahid Afridi had been a source of great support for him and had advised him like an elder brother. “It is very clear to me what I did five years back is simply not acceptable but I am grateful to Allah for giving me another chance to redeem myself,” he said.

The pacer also said he was ready to face taunts and harsh remarks on and off the grounds. “All I can do is bowl well and take wickets.” Pakistan will play three T20Is and as many ODIs in New Zealand later this month. READ: Mohammad Aamer will be under huge pressure in New Zealand 2016 series, says Rameez Raja