Amir granted New Zealand visa

Mohammad Amir (File)
Mohammad Amir (File)

Wellington - Mohammad Amir has been cleared to play in New Zealand this month with officials confirming on Thursday that the Pakistan paceman had been granted a visa despite a conviction for spot-fixing.

Amir, who served three months in jail in 2011, had been included in the Pakistan team to play three Twenty20 matches and three one-day internationals subject to clearance from Immigration New Zealand (INZ).

INZ area manager Michael Carley told Fairfax Media that a visitor visa had been approved.

"In making this decision, INZ considered factors including the support of the New Zealand and Pakistan Cricket Board and that Mr Amir had served his sentence for his previous actions."

Amir said he was "delighted" at the news.

"I can't wait to board the plane come Sunday," he told AFP.

A Pakistan Cricket Board spokesperson confirmed that the visa had been approved.

When Amir was named in the Pakistan squad, New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum said he had no objections to facing Amir.

"He was a very young man at the time and I think he's gone through a sound rehabilitation programme and ultimately if he gets out on the field against us, then you play against the man you're playing against not a man who may have made some mistakes as a youngster," he told Radio Sport.

Before the spot-fixing scandal, which also involved Amir's captain Salman Butt and fellow Pakistan bowler Mohammad Asif, Amir was regarded as the hottest property in international cricket.

He had 51 wickets in 14 Tests, 25 in 15 one-day internationals and 23 wickets in 18 Twenty20 matches.

Pakistan play their first Twenty20 against New Zealand in Auckland on January 15.

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