LONDON: Pakistan first Test against England beginning on Thursday (July 14) at Lord’s will see the long-awaited return of pacer Mohammad Amir to the venue and to the game.
Amir was banned in 2010 along with Mohammad Asif and Salman Butt for the infamous spot-fixing scandal. Amir made his domestic comeback playing for Omar Associates in the Grade II Patron’s Trophy on March 13, 2015. He took a wicket in his first comeback over.
On August 19, 2015, Amir was declared completely free to play all forms of cricket from September 2, 2015.
He made his return to international cricket on January 15 this year, in a Twenty20 match against New Zealand. In February 2016, Amir took a hat-trick in a Pakistan Super League match for Karachi Kings.
As Amir is all set to make a return to Test cricket on the same venue after a gap of six years, many cricketers believe that the pacer would make a strong impact in the game.
Former Twenty skipper Shahid Afridi said the media was “putting undue pressure” on Amir. He urged Amir to stay strong in the series in England.
“I am hopeful that Amir will fulfill the expectations of everyone and will perform with all his might in the series against England,” he said while talking to a news channel.
Test captain Misbah-ul-Haq said if you look at Amir’s bowling speed, swing and control it is there. “I think he can still be the best bowler in the world,” he said.
“He knows he is under pressure but he is handling that very well. It is a good opportunity for him to come here, where he had those problems, and show the world he can perform and deliver for the team and win back all his fans. That’s what he is working hard for,” he said.
Former pacer Shoaib Akhtar had advised Amir to remain humble on the England tour and perform with all his might on the field.
“The best way for Amir to counter is to perform on the field which I am sure he can do. But he also has to remain humble and not show attitude. He has to blend in with his teammates and win matches for them,” he said.
Pacer Wahab Riaz said as a team, as a squad of 17 plus our team management, all of us are going to support Amir. “We are all behind him, we are all supporting him, whenever he needs us, however he needs us, we will be around him all the time,” he said.