Does Mohammad Amir deserve to be in the national squad?

Last month on June 14, fast bowler Mohammad Amir announced that he is taking his retirement back being available for the national team selection. The news shocked the cricketing fraternity as he earlier has stayed a part of controversies for over a year concerning his issues with the PCB.

Head coach Misbah ul-Haq replied that doors are open for everyone who performs. Maybe it includes the Pakistan Super League’s performances too. Karachi Kings’ star icon did not enjoy a great time in this year’s PSL.

The second phase of the tournament in Abu Dhabi had its worst for him. Mohammad Amir was not able to grab more than a single wicket compared to four wickets in five games in the Pakistan leg. 

His stats in Abu Dhabi were not up to the mark as he could not pick up a single wicket until his fifth last ball. He managed to dismiss T20 veteran Shoaib Malik in the first Eliminator against Peshawar Zalmi. Otherwise, he would have been wicketless in the Abu Dhabi leg. 

Overall, he picked up five wickets at an average of 69.8, more than Babar Azam’s batting average of 69.25 in this PSL season. The situation is now alarming for Amir. 

Amir’s stats in PSL 2021
Karachi leg515520.0438.75307.75
Abu Dhabi leg619421.41194.001308.95

League Cricket & Domestic

Mohammad Amir was also part of the inaugural Lanka Premier League (LPL) and represented Galle Gladiators, who barely qualified for the knockout stage before reaching the final. The Gladiators lost the final to Jaffna Stallions. Amir was the fifth-highest wicket-taker with 11 scalps to his name at an average of 26, an economy of 7.72, and a strike rate of 20.7. 

Of those 11 wickets, five were against Colombo Kings, which helped Gladiators win their first game. The remaining six wickets came at an average of 44.67 and an economy of about eight.

Mohammad Amir was part of Nothern’s squad in the National T20 Cup 2020. He played only seven out of eleven matches. Amir returned only six wickets at an average of 38.83 with an economy of 8.73 and a strike rate of 26. 

Amir’s failure at many big stages: Does it concern his place in the national squad?

It’s not just the leagues and domestic cricket where Amir has failed to live up to expectations lately. Here is the justification.

In his T20I career, since 2019, he hasn’t been up to the mark. Barring a couple of games where his figures were good for him and his side, in which one came in the winning cause, Amir picked only one wicket at this point. 

In his last five T20I matches, Amir went wicketless. Those five matches were away matches in Australia and England, where the conditions would suit him. Instead, he picked only one wicket at an average of 105. The only wicket he picked was of David Warner.

Amir was also part of that T20I series against Sri Lanka where Pakistan was blanked 3-0 against the second-string Sri Lankan side. In those three games, he picked three wickets. All those three wickets came in the final game luckily. 

The other game where Amir picked more than one wicket was in South Africa. He played the third and final T20I, where the series was all but sealed by the hosts. Amir bowled a match-winning spell of 3-27 in his completed quota with Pakistan winning the game. That was perhaps the last time he bowled without any troubles and with good consistency, bowling the right line and length.

Amir’s T20I record 
Since 2019922427.5732.0023.88.04
Last 5 matches510511.51105.0071.08.87

Last International Series for Pakistan

Mohammad Amir pulled his hamstring
Mohammad Amir last played for Pakistan against England in 2020

During England series in 2020, Mohammad Amir suffered a hamstring and had to leave the field. He bowled two overs and conceded 25 runs in Pakistan’s five wickets loss to England. That was his last T20I match before he was dropped from the squad due to tour New Zealand in late 2020.

From that moment onwards, there were twists and turns in the story. He shortly announced his retirement from international cricket due to “mental torture” by the current team management. Fans and Journalists were outrageous and criticized Amir and expressed that he shouldn’t think of himself above the team. 

Also Read About: Rise of Pakistan Cricket from the darkest year to the brightest year

Will there be Mohammad Amir in Pakistan’s squad for T20 World Cup? 

Given his recent performance in international cricket, along with domestic and league cricket, it is clear that Amir needs to rectify some of his bowling areas. The performances haven’t been much great. But with Amir taking his retirement back and on behalf of his past performances, does he still deserves to be in Pakistan’s T20 World Cup squad?

There may be arguments that a bigger tournament can bring the best out of a player. Take Wahab Riaz’s example. When Mickey Arthur hit hard on Wahab stating that the left-arm quick “did not win matches for Pakistan for two years,” Wahab was determined to prove Mickey wrong. He played an important role in Pakistan’s 2019 World Cup campaign, picking up 11 wickets and scored some vital runs. 

But can the same be said for Amir?

Mohammad Amir celebrating in Pakistan Colours

Remember, the T20 World Cup is now shifted to UAE. We have already seen Amir’s recent PSL record in the UAE. Here’s a table below explaining Amir’s performance in Asia.  

What does this mean for our left-arm quick? 

Mohammad Amir, across all five Asian countries, where he has bowled, averages 17 and has an economy of 6.34. That’s great news for Amir fans, good for Amir himself. 

Amir’s T20I record in Asian conditions
Pakistan 613022.01210.8311.05.9
Sri Lanka1223.0122.0018.07.33

Removing Pakistan from Amir’s Pakistan record will bring down his wickets to 13 at an average of 22.67 with an economy of 6.55 and a strike rate of 20.7. 

The Asia Cup was fruitful to Amir, who made his return in 2016. He took seven wickets at a great average of 11.57. 

Following the Asia Cup, Amir was selected in the 15-men squad for the T20 World Cup in India. The only time Amir played in India, he retorted only three wickets at an average of touch below 40. 

As for UAE, he averages 33 in the three games he played. In fact, Amir’s personal record in UAE is not up to the mark. In Test cricket, he averages 56.42 and 55.50 in ODIs with the ball. 

What should Mohammad Amir do? 

Exactly what Hasan Ali did. Hasan, who had a golden run from 2016-’17 before having a fallout in 2018-’19, was dropped from the national side after the 2019 World Cup. Hasan worked for two years and he made his return to the team and had a great return. 

This is something Amir can do for himself. He can go back to the domestic circuit. He should work on himself, especially on his pace. With no saliva allowed on the ball and other restrictions imposed due to Covid-19, Amir would need to work extremely well on his pace as well as his line and length.

Share your thoughts in the comment about whether Amir should be picked for the T20 World Cup in UAE.

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