Pakistan and England’s cricket teams prepared on Wednesday (13 July) for their first test in the upcoming series between both sides, with captains of each team commenting on the return of Mohammad Amir.
The 24-year-old, who spent time in jail and served a five-year ban for spot-fixing, admitted he had deliberately bowled a no-ball in the fourth test against England at Lord’s in 2010.
Amir was cleared to return to the sport last September and could make his first test appearance since his suspension at the same ground and against the same opposition, when the test series begins next week.
England captain Alastair Cook has been particularly vocal about Amir.
“He’s served his time. He was punished for what he did in 2010. When you do something like that, the consequences that go with it he’s dealt with that. So, look I’ve said all along that I don’t think match fixers should be allowed to play, but at that time he was given his punishment, he’s served it, so he’s absolutely entitled to come back. I just hope we, as I said at the Investec media day, that we can just concentrate on the cricket now,” said Cook.
Pakistan’s Misbah-ul-Haq also spoke on the upcoming return of Amir.
“It’s good. What he just has to come and do in the ground and he’s really responding well to that and I hope so. It’s a big opportunity for him that he just comes on the field and performs for Pakistan and win the people again. So, at the moment I’m in no worries for us in terms of Mohammad Amir,” he said.
Ul-Haq also said his side can exploit any sign that some of England’s batsmen might be out of form.
“It could be sometimes when you have two or three batters struggling in the team. That could be an area which you really exploit when you’re the opposition but I think you really need to focus all 11 players, especially the whole batting line-up as we know, England are really good and especially in the lower-middle order they can really hurt you and we have to focus each and everybody. Some of your batsmen are not in good form and that could be a plus for us, but at the same time we must be aware of others who’ve been performing well,” he said.
Mohammad Amir wasn’t the only focus for Alastair Cook either. He confirmed that Nottinghamshire bowler, Jake Ball, will make his debut with team regular, Jimmy Anderson, still recovering from a shoulder injury.
The first test begins at Lords on Thursday (14 July).