Mohammad Amir receives 'no-ball' taunts during opening day of 2nd Test, shrugs them off
After an anti-climactic response from the Lord’s crowd, Mohammad Amir finally got to face what many feared before the start of the tour: provocative taunts from the crowd. When he was steaming in to bowl during the first session on the opening day of the Old Trafford Test against England, noticeable cries of ‘no-ball’ could be heard from a section of the Manchester spectators.
However, Amir did not pay heed to any of it as he tested England’s openers with an impressive new-ball spell. After surviving a dropped catch at gully, Alex Hales was done in by a beautiful in-swinger from the 24-year-old.
Interestingly, his return to the international arena has evoked varying reactions within the cricket fraternity. While Graeme Swann felt 'sick' at the thought of Amir's comeback at the iconic Lord's stadium, most other former players expressed support for him.
Having been caught in a sting operation for accepting money to bowl no-balls in the 2010 Lord’s Test, Amir was suspended for five years alongside Mohammad Asif and Salman Butt. Though Asif and Butt have not been able to break into the Pakistan team as yet, Amir has been welcomed back by the selection committee.
Wary of a possible riposte from the England supporters, Misbah had quipped prior to the series, “(Amir’s) got the best chance to prove himself out in the middle and he doesn't need to worry about what's happening with thousands of spectators saying something. He just has to focus on what's going on in the middle.”
But this was not the first time that Amir has had to deal with unpleasantness arising from beyond the boundary. During the limited-overs trip to New Zealand earlier this year, Mohammad Hafeez intervened and protected him from an individual who courted controversy by waving currency notes in front of him.
New Zealand Cricket also apologized when an announcer in the stadium mocked Amir by playing the sound of a ringing cash register. It remains to be seen how Amir responds to all the off-field stuff that has been haunting him.