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—-Fast bowler returned to first-class cricket after two-and-a-half years
(CRICINFO) Mohammad Amir is back playing first-class cricket again. Two-and-a-half years after announcing the end of his Test career, the left-arm fast bowler is back in whites. Amir signed up with Gloucestershire county cricket club in England as a replacement for Naseem Shah and picked up his first wickets of the season on Thursday.
Still only 30 years old, and trotting the globe playing white-ball cricket, Amir’s performances led to the inevitable question. Will he consider coming out of retirement?
“It is too early to talk about a Test return,” he told the ECB Reporters Network in Southampton. “You never know and things can be changed but for now I’m enjoying playing for Gloucestershire.”
Amir got through 28 overs on debut for his new county against Surrey last week and 21 overs on the first day’s play against Hampshire this week. Although he continues to open the innings, the three wickets he has taken so far in the competition have all come with the old ball. “I am playing after three years so it isn’t easy as a fast bowler,” Amir said. “I didn’t play any first-class cricket in the last four years but I am getting better after the first game and just trying to help the boys and do well for them. As a bowler it is my duty to bowl well and lead from the front, so that is what I’m trying to do.”
In his prime, Amir was a thrilling exponent of swing bowling, renowned for his ability to bring the ball back into right-handers. And even after the novelty wore off and his opponents knew what he was all about, he could still surprise them with the amount of movement he could get. Then came the ban for spot-fixing. Amir suffered five years out of the game and when he returned he was an entirely different bowler. One who played a holding role, concentrating on lines and lengths.
Amir retired from Pakistan cricket at the age of 28 in acrimonious circumstances. He is currently plying his trade in T20 leagues around the world having picked up 119 wickets in 36 Tests, 81 wickets in 61 ODIs and 59 wickets in 50 T20Is. “After recovering from the side strain in the PSL, I was training and feeling so good and thought why not give a chance to red-ball cricket,” Amir said. “I think I am getting better and on the right path now. I am enjoying red-ball cricket. For now I’m only here for three games and afterwards I’m planning on going to the CPL.”