LPL 2020: A left-arm pacer on song is one of the most beautiful sights on the cricket pitch and none know it better than Pakistan pacer Mohammad Amir. Having become a national icon after helping Pakistan beat arch-rivals India in the final of the 2017 Champions Trophy in England, the pacer was expected to repeat his performance on English soil during the 2019 50-over World Cup. Unfortunately, Amir has in the last couple of seasons failed to meet his own lofty standards.
Even as the Pakistan players are in New Zealand, Amir is going all-out in the ongoing Lanka Premier League wherein he picked a fifer against Colombo Kings on Monday – a rare feat in the shortest format. While Amir does not wish to look too far ahead, the pacer would definitely love to regain his place in the team with an eye on the twin T20 World Cups that are coming up in 2021 and 2022. “I will take things as it come, keep myself fit, train hard and see how it goes. Right now my focus is on the Lanka Premier League and my team Galle Gladiators,” Amir told ANI.
Cricket like other sporting events is making a slow and steady return in the post-coronavirus era and Amir said that time away from the ground was not easy at all. He explained even though it was tough, the pacer tried his best to keep in shape and ensure that he is ready for the challenge when action finally resumed.
“Yes, time has been tough for people and sports took a backseat for a while during the lockdown. As a professional cricketer, I did whatever I could, in limited capacity, to keep myself fit and it also gave me time to think about my game. But things have slowly started to move on, and here we are at the Lanka Premier League today. It is a new league, happening under some really challenging circumstances, but it is going on well, there are some really good performances from so many players. For us, Galle Gladiators, the journey hasn’t been very good so far but there are still few games left for us to reverse the trend,” he said.
Looking at the positive, the lockdown did give athletes time to work on their games and also attend to any niggles or injury concerns and return a 100 per cent fit. Has that made Amir rethink his decision to quit red-ball cricket? The pacer says he hasn’t given that a thought and he worked on his white-ball skills and fitness during the time he spent indoors.
“I haven’t thought about playing red-ball cricket again very soon, and I utilised the break to work on my fitness and on my overall game for the shorter formats,” the 28-year-old said.
While former Pakistan stars were critical of Amir’s decision to quit red-ball cricket, the pacer has time and again mentioned the need to quit the longest format to prolong his white-ball career. And none vouch for his white-ball skills more than India skipper Virat Kohli.
The batsman has time and again praised the pacer and it comes from the match-winning performances that the bowler has put up every time he has played the arch-rivals in the shorter formats of the game. Amir said it feels good when a top-class performer appreciates what he has done on the pitch.
“Virat Kohli is a great player, one of the best, and his performance speaks for itself. Apart from his game, I also have huge respect for him as a person. It is always very fulfilling to hear good words from another great cricketer and a good human being,” he concluded.