Pakistan’s T20 World Cup skipper Babar Azam has said he will ‘speak to’ fast bowler Mohammad Amir about a potential return to the national side with the big tournament looming on the horizon.
Amir retired from international duty last August but a return may now be on the cards. Here’s what we know.
Karachi Kings team-mates to discuss Pakistan return
Pakistan captain Babar Azam has said in an interview with the magazine ‘Pakistan Cricket’ that he was going to attempt to ‘talk to him about his issues’.
Azam and Amir are team-mates at the Karachi Kings in the temporarily-suspended PSL, where they’ve been the big stars of the side, Azam with bat and Amir with ball.
Azam was keen to point out that Amir was ‘one of Pakistan’s best bowlers’ and that his admirable performances in the PSL were behind Azam’s decision to attempt a reconciliation.
Why did Amir retire from international duty?
Amir played his last international game for Pakistan on August 30 2020, a T20I defeat to England in Manchester, in a high-scoring gane.
When he retired from international duty, he cited ‘mental torture he could not bear’ and was particularly critical of bowling coach Waqar Younis, though he never really specified what it was that Younis did that upset him so much.
Former Pakistan skipper and Head Coach/Chief Selector Misbah Ul-Haq was in no doubt about which side he was taking and promptly accused Amir of ‘making up’ the circumstances.
Amir the star, Amir the problem
Amir is known as a spiky, difficult character to manage who often shows poor body language on the field and is never too far away from controversy.
And that’s even beyond the famous spot-fixing incident from 2010 that Amir was involved in and subsequently imprisoned for. He returned to the national side when his international ban expired, some five years after it was handed out.
But Azam in particular is aware of what a brilliant bowler he is on his day and that’s why he’s obviously keen to try and lure him back into the international set-up.
Amir has taken 59 wickets in 50 games for Pakistan in T20Is with a strike rate of 18.2 and an economy rate of 7.02.
Pakistan are 12.0 sixth-joint favourites with Betway and have already won the tournament before, triumphing in England in 2009, with Amir playing an important role.