Should Mohammad Amir Part Of Pakistan's Coach? > Cricket News, cricinfo, mobilecric, cricbuzz, livescore and more

Cricket news - Should Mohammad Amir be part of Pakistan's World Cup squad?

Since his return to international cricket, Amir, save a few spells, hasn't been the same bowler whose comeback the Pakistan Cricket Board had fast-tracked.

That Pakistan has a faulty domestic structure which has diminished the quality of the talent coming through is usually termed a reason for the team's lacklustre performances. But what has been casually brushed aside is the management's failure to utilise the available resources to the maximum.

In September last year, Pakistan were deemed hot favourites to come out as champions during the Asia Cup in the UAE. After all, this was the team that was the most familiar with the conditions having had adopted it as their home for most the last decade. Couple that with an in-form batting top order, a menacing bowling attack, and the confidence that the Champions Trophy triumph had brought, that's the perfect blend that one could ask for ahead of a crucial tournament.

But a defeat to Bangladesh in a virtual semifinal edged Pakistan out of the tournament. It was a miserable tournament for them as they received comprehensive beatings - twice from India, and secured wins only over Hong Kong and Afghanistan.

Till the very last match of their campaign, Pakistan looked unsure of how they were to employ their bowling stockpile. The issue stemmed from the consistent persistence with Mohammad Amir in the playing XI hoping that he will live up to his reputation. But that never happened, and the left-armer remained wicketless across 18 overs in three matches that cost Pakistan 84 runs. When Junaid Khan was finally drafted into the side against Bangladesh, his remarkable returns of 4 for 19 in nine overs on a placid Abu Dhabi wicket screamed what Pakistan had been missing.

Since his return to international cricket, Amir, save a few spells, hasn't been the same bowler whose comeback the Pakistan Cricket Board had fast-tracked. Initially it was said that the pacer would require time to get back into the groove after a five-year-long hiatus. With that, he also had to catch up with the evolution that the game had gone through in his absence. However, over three years since his return, Amir is yet to blossom - especially in 50-over cricket. Since that destructive opening spell against India in the Champions Trophy final, one of the four matches in which Amir has returned a three-fer, his figures in ODIs have been deplorable.

Since the Champions Trophy final, Amir has taken more than two games - considering he bowls a full-quota of ten overs - to strike. That's at least what his Strike Rate of over 121 suggests. In 101 overs since then, Amir has taken only five wickets averaging a staggering 92.60. His economy, however, remained at 4.58 - a stat that the team management and selectors would consistently put forward to justify his selection.

Prior to this decline in form, Amir had sought rest. He brought it up before the Zimbabwe tour last year but the request was turned down. Reports suggested that he contemplated retiring from Test cricket altogether to prolong his career. His domestic team's coach also revealed to Cricbuzz that he had suggested the same to Amir considering the massive workload he had.

So, there was the rest when he was dropped for the home season late last year. But, he was then rushed back into the squads for the challenging South African tour due to a notion - which thrives greatly amongst the cricketing circles in the country - that Amir is a big-match bowler. What qualifies as a "big match" is subject to the interpretation of the team management. Probably, any game in which Amir strikes.

In the contemporary game where bat continues to dominate the ball, the task assigned to the opening bowlers is to dismantle the opposition's top order as few overs in the middle makes it easy for the batsmen score runs. So, Amir going under a run a ball doesn't really benefit Pakistan. Until he removes the batsmen, he is only helping them to adjust to lambast later.

Since his return to the ODI squad, Pakistan has kept him on the bench in three out of seven occasions - the most recent in the second Australia ODI after he proved to be the most expensive bowler in the opening match of the series. The South Africa series even saw him getting demoted to the first-change pacer.

With time running out and Pakistan possessing pacers who promise to fit into the desired roles, it is high time that a final call on the Amir's role in the World Cup plans is made.

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