Pakistan left-arm pacer Muhammad Amir thinks he is still not ready to make a comeback in international cricket with his main focus on the domestic front. But the cricketer promises a more mature bloke with the ball the next time he is given a chance at the international level.
“I think my future is bright, God-willing,” said Amir, while talking to PakPassion in an interview.
“Five years ago I was bowling well and I was very happy with my form but my career came to an abrupt halt. Whether I reach those levels again nobody knows, we shall see, but looking ahead, the world will see a different Mohammad Amir, a mature person.
“I feel I am on the right track on and off the field and I request everyone who has supported me through the tough times to continue to support me and I will not let them down.”
The 23-year-old said that he is happy with the way things are progressing and he is getting back into that bowling rhythm where he left it.
“Things have been going well. I’m very happy with how things are progressing,” he said.
“I made a good start when I was playing Grade II cricket and that boosted my confidence and then I played in a Twenty20 tournament in Faisalabad and that went to my satisfaction also. I’ve recently finished playing in a Twenty20 tournament in Rawalpindi and I was very happy with my bowling rhythm during that tournament.
“I feel as if day by day my bowling is improving. As you will have seen in the tournament in Rawalpindi my pace is increasing and my confidence is higher now so the signs are very good.”
Amir was optimistic that after performing well in the shorter formats, his return to the four-day matches will allow him to test his physical and mental fitness.
“The most important thing for me and what I am focussing on at this time is my fitness. I feel that as a fast bowler if you are fit, mentally and physically then the rest will follow. With fitness comes rhythm and confidence; all three work in tandem,” he explained.
“The more cricket I play, the fitter and stronger I feel and that helps me technically and mentally. I’m reaching a very important phase in my comeback soon and that is playing four day cricket for the first time. When I play four day cricket that will be a true test of my levels of fitness and whether I still have the ability to swing the ball both ways. I’m feeling stronger with each match but as I say, playing four day cricket will be a sterner test of my abilities.”
Amir further said that he kept himself fit and learned during his time away from cricket.
“Firstly I studied. I had some home tuition so that kept me busy,” he said.
“I also performed Umrah and I also worked as a cricket analyst on some television shows during the World Cup in Australia and New Zealand. The five years were slow going and it wasn’t easy but I got there in the end.”
When asked if he is ready to face England in Lord’s next year on Pakistan’s tour, he said he is focusing on performing in domestic cricket for the time being and everything else is in the hands of the selectors.
“The Almighty is the only one who knows what will happen tomorrow or in future. I need to keep my feet on the ground and not plan too far ahead. My focus is on domestic cricket at the moment and it would be premature for me to start thinking about when or if I will play for Pakistan again,” he said.
“I’m not worrying over when I will play for Pakistan, instead I am just focussing on my domestic form and then leaving the rest to the selectors. Whether I make my return to Pakistani colours at Lord’s or elsewhere is out of my hands, I just need to make sure that I am mentally and physically ready for the challenge of international cricket when it is presented to me.”
Amir also said that he does not want his supporters to over-expect things from him as he has been away from the game for a considerable period.
“The public needs to realise that I have been away from cricket for five years which is such a long time and that I need to make sure that I am definitely ready and well prepared for international cricket, otherwise it could go wrong,” he added.
Amir was also optimistic that he will be able to clear any misunderstanding and resolve any issues that the current Pakistan players have with him.
“Everyone has their own opinions and they are entitled to those opinions. But at the end of the day a cricket team is like a family and like you do with your family you spend a lot of time with your teammates.
“There are always minor issues to resolve, but I think the rehabilitation programmes the PCB has set up where I meet with the current international players will help. I think if there are any issues they will be resolved and any misunderstandings will be cleared up.”