“Forgive him. He has done his time. He was led astray.”
What is it about Mohammed Amir that touches the national consciousness? Is it the underlying understanding that somewhere, sometime, we too have wronged? Whilst most Pakistani players spout the patriotic “I love my country” at almost every given opportunity, Amir is focusing solely on lethal execution and is now playing for Karachi Kings with a vengeance.
This turnaround was most evident in the 19th over of Karachi King’s first match against Lahore Qalandars. The effervescent stadium crowd knew they were witnessing something special, when he got Dwayne Bravo and Zohaib Khan out in successive deliveries. But it was when he got out Kevon Cooper lbw, that the crowd erupted, delirious with both joy and disbelief. This was the comeback fans had been wishing for, the prodigal son returned from repentance.
At the post-match press conference, Karachi Kings’ captain Shoaib Malik said Mohammed Amir’s spell was “…crucial and one of the turning points of the game.”
The captain of Lahore Qalandars, Azhar Ali said, “Amir is bowling well and getting rhythm and I think he is showing improvement in every game.”
The latter’s turnaround on the bowler shows that Amir is winning hearts on the strength of his performances. Having witnessed both extreme highs and lows before he was 21, his selection and ongoing achievements for Karachi Kings will further reinforce the call for inclusion in Pakistan’s squad for the World T20.
With the opening ceremony and first three matches out of the way, the tournament is now picking up momentum. Crowds turning up in large numbers on cold, winters’ nights are not only testament to the love fans hold for their respective cities, but to the star powers of the players as well. It is now Amir’s turn in the spotlight that will help to draw in the crowds. He has been forgiven.