ABU DHABI - M Aamir, the disgraced Pakistan fast bowler, can perform the ultimate act of redemption by inspiring his country to World Twenty20 success in India next March.

That’s the view of Pakistan bowling legend Shoaib Akhtar , who implored people to “help the child” following Aamir’s controversial return to cricket.

Aamir has not played for Pakistan since the 2010 Lord’s Test against England when, aged 18, he was part of a spot-fixing scam that saw him, his fellow seamer M Asif and the then captain Salman Butt banned by the International Cricket Council and serve time in prison. The youngest bowler to reach 50 Test wickets before his suspension, Aamir returned to competitive cricket in Pakistan in March and has been one of the standout players for Chittagong Vikings in the Bangladesh Premier League.

The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) and Pakistan coach Waqar Younis have both suggested Aamir is likely to receive an international recall and former fast bowler Shoaib believes this would be a rewarding decision. “One thing that unites us is the World Cup and playing in India,” the 40-year-old said.

“It’s going to give us a lot of pleasure. Pakistan are the most dangerous side if they play three spinners and two fast bowlers and get Aamir back in the side. What more important thing is there than for Pakistan to win the World Cup? I’m sure Aamir can run in and win the World Cup.”

Shoaib, who took 178 Test wickets between 1997 and 2007, fully understands the opposition by many to Aamir’s potential return to the international arena given that he was no stranger to controversy himself.

He once incurred a five-year ban from the PCB for indiscipline and had numerous other run-ins with officials, so therefore offers a measured take on the issue. “I can understand people who do not want him to play and say once he destroyed the country’s name, that he should not get a chance. I think they are right but at the same time, there are other people who say he’s served his sentence, he’s served his time in the jail and if he does that again, then hang him. I agree. There’s going to be a lot of mistrust, Every time he’s going to run in there, there will be a billion eyes judging him. It’s not going to be easy for him.” “If I was in his place, and God forbid I shouldn’t be, I would have been so scared. But let’s help the child and let’s guide him once again and tell him what the right thing is to do.”

M Hafeez, the Pakistan batsman, has said he would feel uncomfortable sharing a dressing room with the 23-year-old, who has taken 51 wickets in just 14 Tests, given that he was part of the squad tainted by Aamir’s indiscretions in 2010.

However, it is believed that two senior members of the Pakistan set-up, Younus Khan and Misbah-ul-Haq, feel the bowler deserves a second chance. Shoaib said it is vital that the PCB “gets the trust of the whole team” regarding Aamir’s possible reintegration. “They need to speak to his teammates and say: ‘Be easy on him and trust him’. It’s up to the PCB now.” Aamir has been in outstanding form in Pakistan and the Bangladesh Premier League, taking 11 wickets in eight matches for Chittagong Vikings at a rate of 14.45.

As such, Shoaib, speaking at the Sprite Cricket Stars event at Shaikh Zayed Cricket Stadium, feels Aamir could provide crucial inspiration for Pakistan’s struggling limited-overs side.

Last week, they were whitewashed by England in a three-match Twenty20 series, as well as losing the One-Day International series 3-1. “Pakistan need to get their act and combination right,” Shoaib said. “It is not rocket science. You’ve got to find a matchwinner, guide him, train him, put him out there and make him understand the game and how to win it.”

Pakistan-India series will happen: Shoaib insists a long-awaited bilateral series between his country and India will happen soon.

“One thing is for sure, we have got to play with each other,” the 40-year-old told said. “Since 1947 (when British India was partitioned into India and Pakistan), we have been in a bad time but we’ve still managed to play. We play football but we don’t play cricket. Everything is happening apart from cricket. Why do they stop cricket?”

“The thing is not playing is not going to help the relationship. That’s what I want and that’s what the democratic government of Pakistan want. We should not find a reason not to play and always find a reason to be positive. We cannot change our neighbours. Ninety-nine per cent of people in India and Pakistan want to see an India-Pakistan series.” Javed Miandad, the former Pakistan captain, has criticised India for delaying the resumption of the series, so who does Akhtar think should seize the initiative in any dispute between the two countries? “The Indian government are working on this. The people of India are willing to take initiative, as are the people of Pakistan.”

Whatever the misunderstanding the two nations have, it is solvable and (a series) will happen. I remember in 1998 on a tour to India, it was a bad time for Pakistan to go out there. We won the first Test in Chennai and we got a round of applause from the Indians for the Pakistan team. That was the pinnacle in the history of Pakistan cricket.”