ISLAMABAD: Mohammad Amir received the backing of Pakistan Twenty20 captain Shahid Afridi on Wednesday as he waits for his visa to compete in a limited-overs series against New Zealand.
"A person does make a mistake and Amir has served his punishment, he should be given a chance," Afridi said in Lahore on Wednesday during Pakistan's training camp.
Afridi said he believed Amir didn't lie to him or to the court about his involvement in spot-fixing during a 2010 test match.
Pakistan has named Amir in the squad for three Twenty20s and three one-day internationals later this month. However, Amir's visa needs to be cleared by New Zealand immigration authorities because he spent three months of a six-month prison term when he was handed a five-year ban.
Afridi didn't know about the status of Amir's visa as Pakistan team is due to fly out to New Zealand early next week.
"I have no idea about his visa, but even if he doesn't get a visa we have choices with which our balance (of the team) will not be disturbed," Afridi said.
Afridi criticized the roles of former captain Salman Butt and fast bowler Mohammad Asif in the same spot-fixing case.
Unlike Amir, both Butt and Asif pleaded not guilty against their minimum five-year suspension and even went to the Court of Arbitration for Sport before their appeals were rejected. Their suspensions were also lifted last September when the ICC allowed them to compete in all forms of the game.
"They (Butt and Asif) continued to lie for 2-3 years and then criticized the team on private television, so first they should look to themselves what they've done," Afridi said.
The three-match series against New Zealand will be Pakistan's last international series before the World Twenty20 in March. Pakistan selectors have been shuffling the team over the last year but the team slipped to No. 6 in the world Twenty20 rankings after England routed it 3-0 in the United Arab Emirates last month.
"If we commit club-class mistakes ... the way our batsmen got run-out and dropped catches you can't beat a team at international level," Afridi said.
To strengthen Pakistan's bowling line-up, selectors have recalled fit-again fast bowler Umar Gul and all-rounder Imad Wasim. Afridi said he didn't wish to make more changes in the team ahead of the World Twenty20.
"It's Pakistan's top 16 players," Afridi said. "I have told the selectors that it's my wish there should not be any changes and we should take this team to the World Twenty20."