Fast-returning Amir looks to New Zealand and Australia

DUBAI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES - OCTOBER 17: Mohammad Amir of Pakistan bowls during Day Five of the First Test between Pakistan and West Indies at Dubai International Cricket Ground on October 17, 2016 in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. (Photo by Francois Nel/Getty Images)

SHARJAH: Pakistan spearhead Mohammad Amir Monday said he was gaining rhythm with each match and looks forward to next month’s tour of New Zealand followed by a trip to Australia.

The 24-year-old took 2-44 on day two of the third and final Test against the West Indies on a day when Pakistan announced a squad for the two-match Test series in New Zealand.

Amir is in the tenth month of his return to international cricket following a five-year ban on spot-fixing, a scandal which almost ended his burgeoning career.

The 2010 scandal was broken by an undercover reporter of now defunct British tabloid News of the World in which then Pakistan Test captain Salman Butt arranged deliberate no-balls from Amir and his pace partner Mohammad Asif in the Lord’s Test against England in return for money.

All three players were also jailed by a UK court in 2011.

At the time of the ban Amir was regarded as “the hottest property at international cricket” by legendary Pakistan paceman Imran Khan.

Since his return in January this year Amir had played Twenty20 and one-day only, before playing four Tests in England in July-August.

“Five years is a long period so I am gaining my rhythm and I am looking forward to trips to New Zealand and Australia. I Have been to both countries earlier and pitches there help fast bowlers,” Amir told reporters.

“With the exposure of playing at tracks like in the United Arab Emirates you definitely get a lot of confidence to do well in Australia and New Zealand.”

After two Tests in New Zealand, Pakistan will play three Tests and five one-day internationals on their trip to Australia.

Amir admitted he faced some fitness issues.

“I did face some problem with fitness which was expected after five years’s absence. It is very tough for fast bowler especially to come after such a long period and be there at once.

“Outings in New Zealand and Australia and performing there in those condition will give me immense confidence.”

Amir said resting him in the second Test in Abu Dhabi was justified.

“I am playing from last one year now and i think fast bowler needs rest and he should be taking rest if there is a chance. Secondly we have bowler sitting at bench and you never know me and Wahab can be injured at any stage.”

Amir hoped the swing he was famous for will return with each match.

“You can’t reach there in days as you need to keep on performing. I still have a long career ahead of me and I am working hard to get there where I left in 2010.

“Since my comeback I was playing T20 cricket where bowling is totally different and I was going wide of the crease earlier but now I have minimise it and worked on my arms and its working in my way.”