Mohammad Amir has been selected by the Pakistan Cricket Board for the squad to tour New Zealand in a few weeks time. The official announcement came after months of intense debate which divided current and former players together with the rest of the nation.
For Mohammad Amir aged 23, it must have been a great relief after a traumatic five and a half years out of international cricket.
Let’s take a look at what Pakistan cricket has been missing out on.
Mohammad Amir, a young talented left arm fast bowler from a village in Gujjar Khan, Punjab was initially spotted by Wasim Akram at a training camp in 2007.
At the age of 17 years he made his debut for Pakistan. It became apparent soon after that Mohammad Amir was no ordinary bowler but a world class fast bowler years ahead of his age.
He made an immediate impact in the 2009 World Twenty20 Championship in England. He opened the bowling in all seven games and took 6 crucial top order wickets. In the final against Sri Lanka he got the tournament’s highest scorer Dilshan out for 0. Pakistan went on to become champions.
Mohammad Amir was recognised on the international stage as a dangerous quick left arm bowler who could cause all sorts of problems to the top order batsmen, especially with his surprise bouncers.
His fastest delivery in the T20 World Cup was recorded at an impressive 152 km/hr (94.4 miles/hr).
Amir also notched up a record with an unbeaten 73 not out batting at number ten in an ODI versus Sri Lanka. He also took 6 wickets on his Test debut against Sri Lanka. The second youngest bowler ever to take 5 wickets in a Test. In Melbourne he also took 5/79 against Australia.
In the 2010 T20 World Cup match against Australia, a record five wickets were taken in his one over for 0 runs, this included 2 run outs.
In 2010 England staged the ‘MCC Spirit of Cricket Test Series’ between Australia and Pakistan. In the 2 match series Mohammad Amir was the leading wicket taker with 11. He was player of the match in the 2nd Test after a 7 wicket haul. The series was drawn 1-1.
Next followed the controversial 4 Test match series against England. Mohammad Amir once again excelled taking 19 wickets in the series. With 2 five wicket hauls at the Oval and Lords. He became the youngest bowler to take 5 wickets in a Test in England, then a week later the youngest player to feature on the Lords honours board.
The series was lost 3-1 but Mohammad Amir was named Player of the Series. He was due to become the ICC emerging player of the year and also one of the prestigious Wisden players of the year
Amir was a match winning fast bowler who successfully targeted the opposition’s best batsmen. Ponting, Strauss, Collingwood, Michael Hussey and Sangakkara were frequent victims.
Mohammad Amir had played 14 Tests, taking 51 wickets with three 5 wicket hauls. He was the youngest bowler to reach 50 Test wickets.
He played 15 One Day Internationals taking 25 wickets and 18 T20 Internationals with 23 wickets.
However all the glory of this fast rising superstar was to come to an immediate grinding halt.
Towards the end of the 2010 England series Amir, together with Captain Salman Butt and Mohammad Asif were accused of spot betting by deliberately bowling no balls. ICC and police investigations were initiated.
Mohammad Amir pleaded guilty at the Crown Court trial, served his prison sentence and five year ban from cricket.
Mohammad Amir is a world class bowler that only comes once in a generation. Let’s put the past behind us and look to the future of Pakistan cricket. Imran Khan, Wasim Akram, Misbah ul Haq and Shahid Afridi have all spoken in favour of Amir’s selection.
I congratulate Mohammad Amir on his return to the Pakistan team and the ARY owned Karachi Kings squad. We wish him the best of luck for the future.