Misbah backs Amir to come good
Mohammad Amir can still become the best bowler in the world despite serving a five-year ban for spot-fixing, Misbah-ul-Haq, Pakistan's Test captain, opined on Monday (June 27).
Left-arm fast bowler Amir, 24, is expected to make his return to Test cricket next month against England at Lord's, 'the home of cricket', where his exciting career came to a shuddering halt in 2010.
During that year's Lord's Test against England, Amir was caught bowling no-balls to order in a sting operation carried out by a tabloid newspaper. Amir and new-ball partner Mohammad Asif bowled no-balls to order on the instructions of their captain Salman Butt.
All three players subsequently received bans from cricket and, together with sports agent Mazhar Majeed, jail terms.
Amir, who served three months in an English young offenders institute, has only played limited overs internationals for Pakistan, but his career could come full circle when the first of a four-Test series against England starts at Lord's on July 14 and Misbah believes Amir, who was one of the hottest properties in world cricket at the time of his ban, has lost none of his skill
"The way he has been bowling, he is there," said Misbah, after Pakistan's training session at Hampshire's Rose Bowl ground near Southampton. "You look at his bowling speed, his swing, his control, they're all there. He can still be the best bowler in the world. "Whatever form of the game he has played since his comeback, he has done well," said key batman Misbah of Amir, who in his 14 Tests before his ban took 51 wickets at an average of under 30 apiece.
"He knows he is under pressure but he is handling it well. This is a good chance for him to come here, the place where he had those problems, and show the world he is there to perform and deliver for the team. It is a chance to win back all his fans. It's a great opportunity and he is working hard."
As for Amir receiving a potentially hostile reception from English spectators, Misbah said: "Anything might happen but the young pacer's main focus should be on his game.
"It might happen, you can always hear voices. The best way is to concentrate on your skills and your duties and Amir has to focus on his game and what he has to do. He is doing well."
Amir, who in his 14 Tests before the ban took 51 wickets at an average of 29.09, will begin his journey to England redemption with a three-day tour match against Somerset at Taunton starting Sunday (July 3).