England vs Pakistan 2016: Mohammad Amir has "served his time", says Sachin Tendulkar
The master blaster, Sachin Tendulkar, has weighed in on the debate surrounding Mohammad Amir's return to international cricket following a five-year ban for match-fixing in 2010.
The “tainted trio” of Pakistan had consisted of Amir, Mohammed Asif and former captain Salman Butt had been handed a 5-year ban after confirmation of their participation in spot-fixing had come to light where Amir was accused of repeatedly and intentionally bowling no-balls.
Amir had already gone back to representing Pakistan in some shorter formats earlier this year but his upcoming appearance at Lord's is attracting the maximum attention from cricket stars all around the world.
England captain Alastair Cook has gone so far as to say the 24-year old's appearance at the historic stadium may give rise to some amount of hostile reactions from the audience. England's Graeme Swann and Kevin Pieterson have been particularly vocal regarding this issue saying that Amir should, ideally, not be allowed to play in top-level cricket.
Amir was only 18 during the Test series in 2010 after which he was implicated in the crime of tarnishing the image of the game and his country on an international level.
Sachin Tendulkar, however, has words of encouragement for the bowler. According to him, Amir has served his time away from cricket and deserves a chance at redemption.
"He has skills, and if he gets his rhythm right he will be able to do something special,” he was quoted as saying by ESPN Cricinfo. “"I've seen a couple of (Amir's) interviews. One with Michael Atherton, I saw that interview and he came across as a mature guy with balance and that is something that will reflect on the field I think,” he added.
Tendulkar has praised the talent of the bowler adding that the time off from the game would have given him the right amount of hunger to strive for excellence against a currently strong English team. "He is a good bowler, has a huge amount of skill, and if he gets his rhythm right he can hopefully do something special,” he said. According to the Indian legend, it is all about keeping a calm head on the field and he feels Amir has matured enough to be able to execute his strategy well against England.
Prior to the ban, Amir had played 14 Tests for Pakistan and had 51 wickets to his credit and was well on his way to becoming the next big thing in Pakistani cricket. His current captain Misbah-ul-Haq has stood by his man as he wrote in a newspaper column, “Some people had doubts whether he would be the same bowler in the longer version of the game after a five-year gap but he has proven that he is still a massive threat.”