DUBAI (Web Desk) – Senior Pakistan batsman Mohammad Hafeez on Saturday became the first cricketer to refuse to play alongside disgraced ex-team-mate Mohammad Amir.
The tainted but cleared paceman will feature for Chittagong Vikings in the Bangladesh premier league starting from Wednesday – a team Hafeez said also asked him to join.
Fast bowler Amir, 23, was jailed for his part in a spot-fixing scam during the 2010 Test series in England and banned from cricket for five years.
Hafeez refused to play with Amir in the Twenty20 competition, saying: “I was approached by my agent to play for the Chittagong team but when I knew that Amir was also in that team so I refused it point blank.”
“I have no personal issues with Amir or Chittagong, it’s my personal opinion that I can’t share the dressing room with someone who hurt my country’s integrity.”
Hafeez added: “If any other team makes me an offer then I will play the league and I have no problems facing Amir as I have played against him in the domestic matches but can’t be in the same team,” said Hafeez, a former Pakistan Twenty20 captain.
Asked what his stance would be if Amir was recalled by Pakistan, Hafeez said: “We will look at it when it happens. It’s premature to say anything now.”
Amir, then 18, pleaded guilty to bowling no-balls at pre-arranged times during Pakistan’s fourth Test against England at Lord’s in 2010.
He served half of a six-month jail term in Britain, while team-mates Mohammad Asif and captain Salman Butt served six and seven months respectively.
Hafeez said: “They were just banned and went away from the fields. It was us who had to bear the brunt.
“We had to restore Pakistan team’s integrity, restore the confidence of the world.
“We had to suffer the taunts of the fans and after 2010 every act, every defeat and every mistake of ours was seen as suspicious, so we overcame that tough time and will not allow it to happen again.”
Pakistan Test captain Misbah-ul-Haq said he supported Amir’s inclusion in the Bangladesh league.
“He has been playing domestic cricket in Pakistan so it’s a tournament where he can share the experience of some of the international players and see where he is at the moment,” said Misbah.
Amir claimed 4-30 for Vikings in Dhaka on Sunday in his first match outside Pakistan in five years.