With Mohammad Amir finally getting the visa to tour England as part of the Pakistan side, decks are cleared for the left-arm pacer to stage a much-hyped comeback into the Test arena at the very same venue he played his last, six years ago – Lord’s. The 24-year-old, who marked his international return early this year, has been in good form and has been working extensively ahead of the England series.
“We had a boot camp at the Kakul Military Academy in Abbottabad where we worked on our fitness and endurance levels and it helped us be in the best possible shape for the tour. We had a chance to interact with soldiers of the Pakistan Army and it was a great experience,” Amir told TOI on Tuesday (June 14).
Apart from working on his skillsets, Amir is also working on the mental side of things. “It is important to be in the best frame of mind in order to deliver on the field. Thankfully, I have a strong team which is backing me and our board too has been supportive,” he said.
When the talented left-arm seamer made his comeback in the limited-overs series in New Zealand early this year, he was booed by a section of the crowd in Auckland. Later on, during a T20 game, at Wellington, a stadium announcer taunted him by playing the sound of a cash register when the bowler was in the middle of one of his spells.
He could expect a similar reaction from crowds in England. Amir though doesn’t seem too petrified by all that as Pakistan get set to lock horns with England in the opening Test at Lord’s from July 14. “I have said this before too – my job is to go out there and bowl the best I can. That’s what I have been doing since the time I came back (in January this year), and that’s what I will continue to do,” Amir stressed. Pakistan will go to England under a new coach in Mickey Arthur and Amir feels the south African will be a big boost when they travel to England.
“I had an opportunity to work with him during the inaugural Pakistan Super League (PSL) since he coached the side I played for – Karachi Kings. He is an experienced coach who has worked with international sides such as South Africa and Australia before, and I am sure he will be able to get the best out of our team too,” he added.
While former players like Salim Malik and a few others are not too hopeful of Pakistan performing well in England, Amir opined that Pakistan will pose a stiff challenge for the hosts in the four-match Test series. “We are a good side and England wouldn’t take us lightly. I believe this Pakistan team has the ability to deliver,” he said.
Asked about his opinion on India’s Test captain Virat Kohli, Amir rated him as the best he has bowled to and recalled their much-talked about duel during the India-Pakistan Asia Cup clash at Mirpur in February .
“Kohli certainly is the best (batsman) in the world, and is having a great run at the moment. The Asia Cup encounter is a case in point. The wicket wasn’t the easiest to bat on, and India were in a spot of bother when Kohli walked in. He was able to negotiate those tough times and come out unscathed. That’s the hallmark of big players like Kohli. They dig in deep, weather out those rough passages of play and ensure they take their side home,” he analysed.