RAWALPINDI: Fast bowler Mohammad Amir showed no signs of rustiness as he made his return after a five-year spot-fixing ban on Friday, bagging three wickets in his first spell in competitive cricket since 2010.
The 22-year-old bowled with pace and aggression to snare three scalps in an opening stint of six overs for the Omar Associates side at the former Test ground in Rawalpindi, next to Islamabad.
Amir was cleared to return to domestic cricket early from his ban for bowling no-balls to order against England in 2010, but his first match, planned for earlier this week, was rained off.
The three-day match that started Friday against the Capital Development Authority is part of the grade-two Patron’s Trophy tournament, one level down from first-class.
It made for a relatively easy reintroduction to cricket for the left-armer, whose pace, control and ability to swing the ball both ways saw him become the youngest bowler, at 18, to take 50 Test wickets.
He was one of three Pakistani players banned from the game for at least five years for arranging no-balls to order in the notorious Lord’s Test against England in 2010.
He was also jailed in Britain in 2011, along with former captain Salman Butt and Mohammad Asif.
Amir’s ban was due to expire on September 2, but the International Cricket Council used discretionary powers to allow him to return to domestic cricket early, citing his early admission of guilt and cooperation with anti-corruption authorities.
When not bowling, Amir was enthusiastic in the field and encouraged his team mates.
His Omar Associates coach Nasir Shah he was pleased to have the former Test man, picked for greatness by Pakistani legend Wasim Akram as far back as 2007.
“I am hopeful that he will return back to international cricket very soon as he is motivated and willing for a comeback,” Shah told AFP.