Mohammad Amir is a Pakistani cricketer who plays for the Pakistan National Cricket team in all formats of the game. A left-arm fast bowler, Amir regularly opens bowling in all formats and bowls at a remarkable pace of 140-145 kph. He made his first class debut back in 2007 and his international debut in 2009 at the age of 17. His first international event was the 2009 T20I World Cup in which he played every match and helped the side secure the victory in the tournament. He was dubbed as the next “Wasim Akram” of Pakistan. Amir’s career took a dive following a five-year ban due to his involvement in spot-fixing scandal. After the completion of his ban, he has since returned to the international cricket and performed remarkably to earn himself the PCB central contract. His performance throughout Champions Trophy and especially in the final helped Pakistan lift the Trophy.
Amir was born on 13th April 1992 in Gujar Khan, Punjab. His domestic career began when he was picked by Wasim Akram at a fast-bowling camp in 2007. He went on a tour to England in the U-19 team and was one of the leading bowler of the series. He was also selected for the Pakistan U-19 squad of the ICC 2008 U-19 World Cup but could only play for a limited time due to injury. He made his international debut in Rawalpindi Rams in March 2008 while concurrently playing for National Bank team as well. A strong domestic form earned him selection in the 2009 T20I World Cup squad.
International Career (Early Career, Champions Trophy and onwards):
Amir made his international debut against England in the group stages of the 2009 T20I World Cup. He bowled successfully in all matches, ultimately enabling Pakistan to win that event. After the WC, Amir was selected for series against Sri Lanka alongside Umar Gul to complete a left-hand / right-hand pace combination. He made his ODI and Test debut against Sri Lanka in July 2009. Amir’s consistent form led to the selection for New Zealand tour as well. He consistently clocked at 145 kph and was considered a dangerous bowler due to his in-swing balls and skiddy bouncers. Alongside his bowling, he showed promise in batting scoring 73 against New Zealand in an innings. He was selected for the 2010 test series against Australia and England.
Amir’s career was devastated in August 2010 following the spot-fixing controversy involving him, Salman Butt and Mohammad Asif. He face allegations of bowling deliberate no-balls during test matches against England. He was suspended for five years under the ICC anti-corruption code and spent the next five years on the sidelines despite his top form. This was a major blow for his career.
After five years, he made his domestic comeback to Omar Associates team. He made his T20I comeback in 2016 against New Zealand and was consequently selected by Karachi Kings team in PSL. His tremendous performance led to his participation in the T20 edition of Asia Cup 2016 and 2016 ICC T20I World Cup. He made his ODI and Test comeback against England in August 2016.
He was selected to represent the National side in ICC Champions Trophy 2017. During the first two games against India and South Africa, Amir failed to pick up any wicket but was economical. He regained his lost form against Sri Lanka where he picked up two wickets but that wasn’t his major contribution to the match. His real contribution was his score of 28 off 63 balls while the team was struggling to chase down a target of 237. He built up an unbeaten partnership of 75 runs with the captain Sarfaraz and steered Pakistan to victory with his smooth batting strokes. He missed the semi-final match against England due to back spasms but the most critical performance of his career was yet to come.
In the final against India, Amir bowled his most crucial spell. After scoring 338 runs, Pakistan set a formidable score for India to chase. Amir, with his superb bowling, took three wickets of Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli and Shikhar Dhawan. All three of these batsmen had scored 70% of India’s entire score in the tournament. After this, India’s batting line-up crumbled. Pakistan defeated the arch-rivals and Amir became a hero to the nation overnight.
After this amazing tournament, Amir has not been able to pick up wickets as much. In his international career, he has picked up 119 wickets in 36 Tests with 4 five-wicket hauls, 60 wickets in 49 ODIs and 55 wickets in 42 T20I matches.
Role in Pakistan Cricket Team:
Amir has been coined by Pakistan as the main strike bowler for the team. He regularly opens the bowling for the team. His responsibility is to pick up early wickets and provide Pakistan with steady breakthroughs so they can exert pressure on the opposition. His unique swing bowling allows him to limit the score. Also, he is introduced in the mandatory power-play so field is restricted at that period. His role is to minimize boundaries and just restrict the batting side to singles and twos so they would feel the pressure mounting up and decide to take a risk which would result in wickets tumbling.
Mohammad Amir leading to WC and performance review since Champions Trophy:
Mohammad Amir worked hard to make his way back to the international side. His impressive performance in the CT final helped remove the stain off his career that the spot-fixing scandal produced. Unfortunately, he has not been able to bowl well ever since. He failed to pick up wickets in the tri-series and the tour of Zimbabwe. We have yet to see the old Amir to return. In Asia Cup, he bowled pathetically and didn’t manage to get any wicket at all. His poor form cost him a chance to play the home series against New Zealand in UAE. He played domestic cricket to get back into the National side. He was again picked up for the South Africa series but his poor form continues. Currently, he has been selected for the ODI series against Australia in UAE. His performance in this series has to be brilliant if he even hopes to be a part of the WC squad.
Responsibility in WC:
Due to his poor run in ODIs, it’s difficult to say whether Amir would be in the WC squad or not. He’ll have to convince the selectors in Australia series that he still has the same spark. If he is selected in the squad, his main responsibility would be to open the bowling economically and pick up early wickets. He’ll have to exert pressure from the get-go so Pakistan can restrict the opposition at a low score. Pakistan is known to have a weak batting side so all responsibility comes on the bowlers. Amir will have to vary his pace and look for those sharp in-swings and skiddy bouncers. Amir’s record in England is marvelous and conditions favor his bowling but he’ll have to be smart when facing the toughest batsmen in the world. If he keeps his composure then his bowling can eventually lead to another WC title for Pakistan.