Pakistan fast bowler Mohammad Amir has revealed he has no regrets about retiring from test cricket, eight months after his retirement.
Amir ruled himself out of selection for Pakistan back in July following his side’s World Cup campaign at the age of 27. The move drew widespread criticism from many former players, including one-time Pakistan captain Ramiz Raja.
Raja was reported by the Metro as claiming that Amir’s retirement was ‘disappointing,’ whilst fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar claimed: ‘It was Amir’s time to pay back to Pakistan cricket’. Both made hidden references to Amir’s 2010 conviction and subsequent jail sentence for match-fixing, which cast a cloud over Pakistani cricket.
However, Amir believes that his retirement was entirely justified and eight months on, he feels no regret at his decision. ‘Five-year gap is a lot for a bowler,’ he said alluding to his enforced break.
‘When I came back, I played continuously for three straight years and that too in all formats. Fatigue was bound to happen, especially for fast bowlers. But now I am feeling much better, Alhamdulillah. When your focus is on one thing and you are mentally and physically fresh, you can deliver and perform better.’
Amir’s performance at the Cricket World Cup in 2020 certainly hinted at him returning to his best. Whilst Pakistan were eliminated at the group stage by virtue of their net run rate, they turned in several impressive performances, not least against Australia. Bwin Sports reveals that the game against Australia was projected to have the second-highest amount of runs in the tournament, but few could have called Amir’s performance. He became only the seventh Pakistan bowler to grab a five-wicket haul in World Cup history in the game, joining an elite list which includes Wasim Akram, Shahid Afridi, Saqlain Mushtaq, Abdul Qadir, Wahab Riaz and Sohail Khan.
Despite his retirement from test cricket, Amir is still going strong in the Pakistan Super League. He is currently appearing for Karachi Kings and in nine matches, he has picked up 10 wickets at an economy of 7.52. He revealed that’s where his current focus lies, although there is sure to be one eye on the upcoming T20 World Cup in Australia.
‘What do I have to prove? Performances prove everything. As a professional, whatever opportunities you get, you avail them. Right now, PSL is my focus. I want to enjoy it and perform well. World Cup is a long way away. That’s five-six months away. Now it’s all about PSL.’
Pakistan has a tough group when the T20 World Cup kicks off in Australia in October, with West Indies, Australia and New Zealand all looking to emerge from the Super 12 Group One, along with two first-round teams that could include Bangladesh or Sri Lanka.
Pakistani cricket will be hoping that despite his retirement from test cricket, Amir will be on top form come next autumn. His retirement was a method by which he hoped to prolong his career in the limited-overs games and hopefully give more back to his country, earning further redemption for his previous misdemeanours.
If he delivers them knockout stage cricket Down Under this autumn, those who criticised his retirement might have reason to change their minds.