The enigma named Mohammad Amir - The best that could have been
Nearly a decade since he burst onto the scene as a young teenager in Sri Lanka, Mohammad Amir seems to have rediscovered the magic touch that made people sit up and take notice. Halfway through the World Cup 2019, Amir finds himself perched atop the wicket-taking charts with 15 wickets at an average of just 14.60 and an economy rate of 4.76.
The left-arm quick has been a ray of sunshine in what, so far, has been a disappointing World Cup campaign - the uncanny comparisons to the 1992 World Cup aside - for Pakistan. One cannot help but wonder what could have been, had the ban never happened.
An Impressive Debut
An 18-year-old Amir, for better or for worse, was handed a 5-year ban after pleading guilty in the spot-fixing debacle of August 2010. He had gotten the world excited with some exceptional bowling up until then.
With 9 wickets in five games at an average of 20.33 against Sri Lanka, Amir was Pakistan’s best bowler in his first ever ODI series. Although his showing in the Tests on the tour were far less impressive, the cricketing world knew that the boy was an unpolished diamond.
In the 15 ODIs Amir played before the ban, he picked up 25 wickets at an average of 24. The 41 ODIs that he has played since has seen him get 50 wickets at an average of 31.8. Keep in mind that these numbers have been made to look ever-so-slightly better by his form in the World Cup.
World Class Quality
His undeniable quality was best showcased at the World Cup in the recent match between Pakistan and Australia. In a game where every other Pakistani bowler, apart from Wahab Riaz, went at over 6 runs an over, Amir returned with a career-best 5 for 30 in his 10 overs.
Amir’s ability to swing the ball has led to comparisons with his hero, Wasim Akram. The expectations have always been really high for the young fast bowler, and only recently, has he seemed to have started meeting them again.
A Lost Gem?
All said and done, Amir has lost more than just the five years of his career with his ban. However, a seemingly lacklustre return to international cricket seems to have lit up at the biggest stage of them all.
While cricket fans in Pakistan, and across the world, can only be happy that this young man has finally rediscovered his magic, one has to wonder - what could have been had it all worked out?
Also read – Cricket World cup winners