LAHORE - After a five-year exile from the field, Pakistan’s most lethal young prodigy M Aamir on Friday returned to the limited-overs squads picked for the upcoming tour of New Zealand.

That the 23-year-old’s return shouldn’t come as a surprise given the ‘by hook or by crook’ method that the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) had put in place to have him in the team, which with some resistance, meandered its way through the barrage of current and former cricketers who acted as significant roadblocks.

To mention a few, Azhar Ali, the country’s limited-overs captain, was the most vocal amongst the opposition along with former captain M Hafeez, as the duo had warned to boycott the conditioning camp as well as the playing XI, should Amir be a part of it. The PCB, however, with talks – both sweet and bitter- convinced the veterans and had them on its side, with Ali’s resignation from captaincy declined and the duo warned of disciplinary action.

Other vocalists such as the Test captain Misbah-ul-Haq and former captain Inzamam-ul-Haq amongst others were also present, but through this team selection, the board has given clear indications about its intentions and purposes.

All isn’t lost for Aamir, though, as support was also there for the tainted pacer through Shoaib Malik and other cricketers who had verbally supported Aamir’s probable return to the Pakistan team. This was also backed by national team chief selector Haroon Rashid. Aamir, on the other hand, has worked extremely hard since being reinstated by the ICC in September to earn his recall into the team. He performed brilliantly in domestic cricket and carried his form into the Bangladesh Premier League (BPL) where he finished as one of the tournament’s most successful bowlers. However, all isn’t well for the fast bowler yet, as he might face legal glitches while travelling abroad due to him being a proven convict in a criminal case. The PCB is exploring all methods to bail him out of this as well, as it has roped in legal advisors from England as well as Aamir’s lawyer.

While the Lahore High Court (LHC) also made way for his inclusion into the side, quashing litigation against it, obtaining a visa for foreign countries might still be a hurdle. On his inclusion in the squads for New Zealand, Aamir said: "I would like to thank everyone for their patience and support. God almighty has blessed me with an opportunity to wear the green shirt again. The dream becomes a reality again as I look forward to repay all through my performance." The limelight of this saga, however, must not take the attention away from another fast bowler who returned to the squad, the veteran Umar Gul, who last played for Pakistan in April last year, into the T20I squad.

While Gul is back in the T20I squad, the seven-footed M Irfan is absent from it to make way for Aamir. Azhar Ali and Shahid Afridi have been retained as the captains of the ODI and the T20I sides respectively. Apart from Ali, Hafeez, Shoaib Malik, Ahmed Shehzad and Asad Shafiq complete the batting line-up for the ODI side, while M Rizwan, Sarfaraz Ahmed and Anwar Ali providing the options for lower-order finishers.

Wahab Riaz is expected to lead the bowling attack bolstered by Aamir while Irfan and Rahat Ali are expected to share the attack. With Yasir Shah being suspended from bowling after failing a drug test, the spin department looks vulnerable with Imad Wasim – who last played against Zimbabwe at home – and Zafar Gohar expected to share the load.

The Twenty20 side has a considerable touch of youth as Aamer Yamin, Saad Nasim and Imad Wasim have been included, to be lead by Afridi. Iftikhar Ahmed, like Irfan, has been included in the ODI squad but not in the T20I squad.

ODI SQUAD: Azhar Ali (capt), Ahmed Shehzad, M Hafeez, Shoaib Malik, Asad Shafiq, Babar Azam, Sohaib Maqsood, Zafar Gohar, Imad Wasim, Anwar Ali, Sarfraz Ahmed, Wahab Raiz, Rahat Ali, M Irfan, M Rizwan, M Aamir.

T20 SQUAD: Shahid Afridi (capt), Ahmed Shehzad, M Hafeez, Sohaib Maqsood, Shoaib Malik, Umar Akmal, Iftikhar Ahmed, Imad Wasim, Anwar Ali, Aamer Yamin, Sarfraz Ahmed, Wahab Riaz, Umar Gul, M Rizwan, Saad Nasim, M Aamir.