Shahid Afridi will lead Pakistan in the T20I series against New Zealand © IANS
Shahid Afridi will lead Pakistan in the T20I series against New Zealand © IANS

Karachi: Mohammad Aamer‘s international return may have been a polarising factor in Pakistan cricket, but T20 International (T20I) skipper Shahid Afridi today welcomed him with open arms, saying he is “happy” with the young pacer’s comeback to the limited-overs squad. Pakistan Cricket Board included Aamer in the One-Day International (ODI) and T20I squads for the away series against New Zealand, giving him a lifeline to make amends for his spot-fixing act in 2010. “Happy to have Amir back in team,” Afridi today wrote on his twitter handle. “He told me truth first time I asked him in England. He admitted his mistake we should back him now.” READ: Misbah-ul-Haq: Mohammad Aamer still the same bowler he was 5 years back

Aamer’s return has been a subject of debate in national cricket with teammates Mohammad Hafeez and ODI skipper Azhar Ali even threatening to leave the team if the tainted pacer was selected. Though PCB chief Shaharyar Khan intervened in the matter and reasoned with players, the opinions still seem to be divided in the Pakistan camp. Afridi said he respected Azhar and Hafeez’s stance. “We suffered a lot due to spot fixing scandal and our image was tarnished everywhere,” he tweeted. READ: Mohammad Aamer named in Pakistan’s ODI, T20I squads for New Zealand 2016 tour

But the swashbuckling all-rounder opined that moving forward is the way to go. “We now need to move on and I will back Amir and expect him to serve Pakistan cricket with total dedication and commitment,” Afridi added. Aamer, 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 some resentment by fellow players.