Muhammad Amir is all but ready to forget the 2010 spot-fixing scandal and find redemption for himself with the ball as plays first-class cricket on behalf of Sui Southern Gas Company Limited (SSGC) under the watchful gaze of former Pakistan wicket-keeper-batsman Atiq-uz-Zaman.
Atiq elucidated Amir’s progress after coming back into action saying that it will wrong to rush the left-arm pacer into international cricket.
“During the match against ZTBL Amir showed the difference between a good bowler and a world-class bowler. He was swinging the ball both ways, he was bowling quick bouncers and his line and length was excellent. Nobody hit him for four down the ground and he showed that he’s back,” said Atiq, in an interview with PakPassion.
Atiq believes that Amir needs to cope his body well with the longer format of the game before stepping into the international scene to avoid an injury.
“Regarding his fitness, a proper assessment can only be done after these five qualifying matches. He’s obviously been playing mainly in Twenty20 tournaments but four-day cricket is entirely different but he coped very well,” he said.
“Naturally he’s not 100% fit yet but that will come. He bowled for an hour at one point, bowling six overs in a row without any problems. We are making sure that he’s looked after properly and that his workload isn’t too heavy and that he is managed carefully when it comes to his bowling spells. He’s motivated, he wants to bowl, but we need to make sure that he’s not over-bowled and subsequently injured.”
Atiq added Amir’s skill level is still the same but he needs to loosen up a little bit. He was also disappointed that no selector came in to see him bowling.
“His skill levels are there, they always will be. He’s a confident young man and watching him bowl against ZTBL it looked as if he had never been away from cricket. But it’s like a machine, if you don’t use it for five years it gets a bit rusty. You have to restart it, manage it and look after it carefully.
“To be honest, I was expecting one of the national selectors to come and see Amir bowling and to see for themselves how he was bowling rather than just reading about it.”
Atiq concluded by saying that Amir should be allowed to play domestic cricket particularly first-class for some time and then only a recall to the Pakistan team should be thought about.
“Mohammad Amir shouldn’t be rushed back into international cricket. Let him perform in domestic cricket particularly in First-Class cricket and in this qualifying tournament, then make a judgment. A proper call on his international return shouldn’t be made too soon and he shouldn’t be rushed back too early. Let him get some long spells under his belt and the four-day tournament under his belt also then think about a recall for Pakistan”, he said.