Tag: Mohammad Amir

Video: Virat Kohli dropped off Mohammad Amir… Virat Kohli caught off Mohammad Amir

Virat Kohli makes the least of his reprieve off Mohammad Amir (via ICC)

Pakistan often lunge enthusiastically towards the ridiculous in the firm knowledge that this is their best hope of rebounding to sublime cricket – but even for them this moment was something else.

There is a strong argument that Virat Kohli is the finest one-day batsman there’s ever been. He is not a man you can afford to drop in the final of the Champions Trophy.

Oh no, turns out you can.

Video: Mohammad Amir bowls Alex Hales

This delivery is basically what we all expected from Mohammad Amir, no?

Sometimes – like when watching an Alastair Cook innings for example – we can feel like we’ve seen it all before. There’s the cut. There’s the nurdle. There’s a leave.

Stumps being tonked by inswingers is not something we can ever imagine tiring of. Even when the team we’re supporting is on the receiving end.

Mohammad Amir’s back!

Photo by Sarah Ansell

Photo by Sarah Ansell

As in ‘returned’. He hasn’t got ankylosing spondylitis or anything.

It’s also worth pointing out that that’s a younger version of his back in the photo above. Younger head too. Same age as the back, in fact – 2010 vintage.

What are the odds on Mohammad Amir getting a wicket first ball? This feels like one of those occasions. We’re a great lover of damp squibs and anticlimaxes, but this doesn’t feel like it’s going to be one. Or maybe the world is toying with us and he’ll pull out of the Test with a minor groin strain.

Speaking of groins, whatever happened to Gary Ballance’s groin has unhappened and he will play. A batsman seemingly designed to fall to late swing from left armers, he’ll no doubt be delighted by Amir’s presence.

Salman Butt and Mohammad Asif are back

Photo by Sarah Ansell

Photo by Sarah Ansell

As in ‘returned’. What else would the word ‘back’ mean in that context? It’s not like there’s an ambiguous apostrophe-S in there or anything.

Salman Butt and Mohammad Asif both played for Water and Power Development Authority against Federally Administered Tribal Areas in one of those somehat fictional sounding domestic fixtures in which Pakistan specialises. Butt made a ton.

Back when Asif, Butt and Mohammad Amir were banned, we wrote that a reformed cricketer would acknowledge wrongdoing and accept a fitting punishment that would serve the greater good of the sport. Whether you believe him or not, this is pretty much what Amir did. The other two, less so.

Butt spent most of his ban denying that he did anything, while Asif is just a dick and therefore saw no real need to apologise or seek redemption. As far as we can tell, he simply doesn’t care. He probably passed his time away from the sport shoplifting from charity shops and throwing his plunder into the river in a bid to clog it up.

Despite the protestations of some of his team-mates, Amir is now returning to the Pakistan side. The selectors said they went purely on ability in making their decision. By that rationale, it surely can’t be long before his one-time new ball partner also makes a return. Amir was good, but he was hit and miss. Asif, as unpalatable as it may be, was always better.

Threats made to Mohammad Amir and other Pakistan cricketers

As we understand it – and we’ll cheerfully admit to being well out of our depth here – the judge rejected the basis of Mohammad Amir’s plea; that he was put under pressure to do what he did. Amir was asked to prove it and declined the opportunity, citing non-physical threats to himself and his family.

What do the grown-ups among you make of that?

Is it an opportunistic excuse based on the claims of Zulqarnain Haider or could it be the truth? If it’s the latter, how are non-physical threats going to keep you from giving evidence that might prevent a jail term?

Well, while writing this, we’ve just heard that Amir’s going to appeal, so maybe that’s what that’s about. Either way, someone should have a word with Ijaz Butt. He’s picking up the bookies circle loud and clear. He’ll know what’s going on.

Mohammad Amir – don’t mourn the loss of a future great

We are deliberately using a picture where he isn't wearing cricket gear

“Please don’t let it be the kid,” said Nasser Hussain at the start of all of this. He spoke for most of us.

We wanted Mohammad Amir to be innocent, but it turns out that he wasn’t and believing that he might have become a future great makes no sense now that the facts are in.

He won’t be a future great and there is a very good reason for that.

A test of character

Cricket, and Test cricket in particular, is a test of character. In fact, over the course of a career, it’s a test of everything. The great players weren’t necessarily the only ones with extraordinary skill at their disposal. They were also the ones who gave themselves the best chance of proving how good they were.

Take Dale Steyn for example

He is currently considered the best bowler in the world. Is that simply because he’s the most skilful? No, it’s not.

Some bowlers have had better opening spells, but Steyn stays strong all day. Other bowlers have taken more wickets in an innings, but Steyn bowls well almost every innings. Some bowlers have had fewer setbacks, but Steyn has responded better to the ones he’s had.

He’s had bad days and injuries and he’s wealthy enough that he doesn’t need to play. Yet he does. He hasn’t got lazy; he hasn’t got fat; he hasn’t grown dispirited or disillusioned; and as far as any of us know, he hasn’t accepted money to bowl any no-balls.


Being persuaded to fix elements of cricket matches is a failing. It knackers your career even more comprehensively than other failings, like lack of skill, lack of fitness or wealth-induced complacency, which is what keeps so many promising cricketers from achieving their potential.

We are not going to mourn the loss of Mohammad Amir, because even if he was pressured into doing what he did, he doesn’t seem to have resisted strongly enough. He was found wanting.

Spot fixing bans and second chances for Amir, Asif and Butt

People are idiots. That’s a rule that pretty much always stands up to scrutiny. Put people in a position where there’s a choice to make and they will naturally veer towards the stupid option by default.

Even so, some options are sufficiently stupid that most of us don’t take them. With a huge, heavy Le Creuset pan full of curry in the oven, you can either take it out with your bare hands or you can put on the oven gloves. Most people will go for the oven gloves.

The remaining people can be split into two further subcategories. There are people who scald their hands and think “Christ, I’m never doing that again” and then there are a very small number of people who try and return the pan to the oven bare-handed after stirring the contents.

Mohammad Asif

The latter are the people who can’t be helped. Simply sit them down in front of ITV1 and just pray that they don’t ever attempt to do anything again in the whole of the rest of their lives. We’re pretty sure that Mohammad Asif fits into this category. If he lost a finger in a Philips blender, he would probably still need to be told to keep his hand out of an active Kenwood blender.

Mohammad Amir, on the other hand, is hopefully the kind of man who only needs to sear his fingertips the once and he deserves a chance to prove it. A five year ban is a long time out of the game, but you can’t appreciate the significance of a second chance without knowing there were consequences when you stuffed up the first time.

And Salman Butt?

We’re not sure where we stand on him. Older than Amir, but not that old, criticism of him seems to revolve around the fact that he should have known better because he’s ‘smart’ or something. Well clearly he isn’t that smart because he’s just been banned from cricket for a decade. Middle-class people who speak good English can be pretty damn thick as well and maybe they too should be allowed the opportunity to take or spurn a second chance.

If Amir or Butt are ever to take a second chance, they could start by acknowledging one thing – that those bans are not merely punishment for themselves; more importantly, they are a deterrent to others. A reformed cricketer would acknowledge wrongdoing and accept a fitting punishment that would serve the greater good of the sport.

Is there any chance of that?

Asif, Aamer and Gul ask you if you enjoy fun

Think the leg stump escaped unscathed

If you actually enjoy cricket, you can’t help but have enjoyed watching Mohammad Asif, Mohammad Aamer and Umar Gul bowl yesterday. It was better than spoon meat and carbonated dipping jam.

That they bowled Australia out for 88 was something of a bonus. Quite simply, this was cricket LIKE IT’S MEANT TO BE. These three bowlers actually had a choice as to what they did with the ball, swinging it in and out and seaming it as well. They didn’t just ‘put it in the right areas’ hoping for the best. They had plans, they were devious and they were flat-out ace.

It makes it so much more interesting. What will the next ball do? How will the batsman cope? There was no ‘plugging away outside off’. There was no ‘waiting for the bad ball’. There was an actual battle going on out there because for once it wasn’t a batsman with a tank and air strikes against a bowler with a blindfold on and his knees tied together.

It was Test cricket.

Mohammad Aamer becomes a fully-fledged Pakistani cricketer

Mohammad Aamer hopefully not having kneed someone in the ballsNot many countries can pick 17-year-olds to open the bowling for them, because not many countries have 17-year-olds who can scythe the ball past international opening batsmen and swing it both ways. Even that’s not enough to make Mohammad Aamer a fully-fledged Pakistani cricketer though. There’s more to it than that.

To be a Pakistani cricketer, you have to at some point do something demented. Mohammad Aaamer today obliged and can now be considered the genuine article. He hit 73 not out, batting at 10, after Pakistan had been 101-9.

Pakistan still contrived to lose the match by seven runs, because they never want you to think you know what’s going to happen. There is no plot when it comes to Pakistan, only a never-ending series of events that may or may not be connected.

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