• Saturday, April 13, 2024

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T20 World Cup lures Amir out of retirement

Mohammad Amir

By: Eastern Eye

FAST bowler Mohammad Amir announced last Sunday (24) that he was coming out of retirement and making himself available for this year’s Twenty20 World Cup, following changes to Pakistan’s selection process which made him feel “needed”.

Amir’s stop-start career was halted in 2010 after he, along with then-Pakistan Test captain Salman Butt and fellow pacer Mohammad Asif, were banned for five years over a spot-fixing scandal. All three were jailed by a UK court.

Amir returned to play for Pakistan in 2016 but announced a shock retirement in December 2020 after he was not selected due to poor form. “I still dream of playing for Pakistan! Life brings us to points where, at times, we have to reconsider our decisions,” he wrote on the social media platform X.

After “positive” talks with Pakistan Cricket Board officials, he said the board made him feel “that I was needed and can still play for Pakistan”.

“I declare I am available to be considered for the upcoming T20WC,” the 31-year-old added.

The World Cup will be held in the United States and the West Indies.

Amir has represented Pakistan in 36 Tests, 61 ODIs and 50 T20Is. His international wicket haul stands at 259, with 59 coming in the game’s shortest format.

Amir’s experience would be vital for a team whose spearhead and skipper Shaheen Shah Afridi is struggling for form, and Naseem Shah has only recently returned after missing the 50-over World Cup with injury.

His announcement came a day after all-rounder Imad Wasim reversed his own decision to retire four months ago and made himself available to play in this year’s World Cup.

On Sunday (24), the newly elected PCB chairman Mohsin Naqvi announced a seven-member selection panel, making the captain and head coach part of the process.

“We have reorganised the selection committee with seven members but the different thing is that there will be no chairman,” Naqvi said, adding that each member would have “equal powers”.

Former captain Mohammad Yousuf, Wahab Riaz, Abdul Razzaq and Asad Shafiq – all of whom played for Pakistan – will be joined by the current captain, the head coach and a data analyst.

The committee will soon announce probables for a two-week training camp to be held at the army base from Monday, the chairman said.

Pakistan are without a head coach following their disastrous World Cup (50 overs) in India last year, where they failed to qualify for the semi-finals.

Afterwards, Babar Azam stepped down from the captaincy of all formats and was replaced by Shan Masood as Test captain and Shaheen Shah Afridi as T20I captain.

The then-head coach, Mickey Arthur, was replaced by team director Mohammad Hafeez under whom Pakistan has suffered a 3-0 Test whitewash in Australia and a 4-1 defeat in the T20I series held in New Zealand.

Naqvi left open whether Shaheen will be retained as the Pakistan captain, saying the selection committee will make a final decision on its T20I captain after the training camp.

He also announced the restoration of a central contract for fast bowler Haris Rauf, who was suspended last month after he refused to play Tests in Australia.

“Rauf has stated that there was some misunderstanding so we have restored his central contract,” Naqvi said.

Pakistan will play five T20Is against New Zealand at home followed by two in Ireland and four in England before featuring in the World Cup.

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