Mohammad Amir opens up on his 'special care' to reduce no-balls
When the English summer started, all eyes were on Pakistan seamer Mohammad Amir who was making a comeback to Test cricket at the most iconic venue of them all. However, as the focus shifted back to the game, he gradually ensured that the trip went a long way in repaying the faith shown by his countrymen.
In an interview with AFP, the 24-year old looked back at the recently concluded England tour and admitted to being ‘relieved’ upon getting past a major hurdle without any controversy.
Amir felt, “There was a huge media hype around me, fears in my mind and the pressure of doing well. But, I am relieved on clearing one of the toughest exams of my life with the support of my team and fans.”
Back at Lord’s – the same venue where the infamous spot-fixing scandal implicated him alongside the then skipper Salman Butt and Mohammad Asif in 2010, the pacer managed to put his demons to rest. Fittingly, he was the one to pick up the final wicket as the visitors completed a famous victory.
Amir enthused, “I was ready for anything including rants. But when I went out to bat at the Lord's, the crowd clapped for me and it helped me relax. None of the England players said anything untoward and I thank them for that. Moeen Ali was the best, he advised me to forget the past and concentrate on the future.”
“Most of the British fans were welcoming and whenever I had the chance of going out they took pictures with me. One father and son came to the team hotel in Leeds and when they met me they described it as a 'lifetime opportunity and best day of their lives’.”
Even though Pakistan ended the 4-match series with a creditable 2-2 draw, Amir could only contribute 12 wickets at an average of 42.41 and strike-rate of 81.2. However, shoddy slip-catching denied him the chance to prise out a few more wickets.
He affirmed, “It could have been a different scenario. But, drop catches are part and parcel of the game. My captain and coach were both satisfied. The best part was that I didn't have any fitness issues.”
One of the most discernable aspects about his performance was an extra emphasis on cutting down no-balls. Attributing the disciplined approach to extensive practice, the left-armer revealed, “I have taken special care of no-balls. My run-up used to be of 23 steps, now its 25 steps. So I bowl a yard back, so there are lesser chances of no-balls.”