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Waqar Younis believes Mohammad Amir is slowly getting back to his peak

801   //    31 Jan 2016, 18:14 IST
Amir returned to international cricket after a five-year ban for charges of corruption.

Waqar Younis praised comeback fast-bowler Mohammad Amir for his performances in the just concluded ODI series between Pakistan and New Zealand but believes he is still a long way from his best, ESPN Cricinfo reports. 

The 23-year-old left-arm fast bowler, playing his first international series since making his comeback to the national team having served his five-year ban for spot-fixing, picked up five wickets in two matches conceding only 67 runs. Though Amir couldn’t prevent the Black Caps from winning the 3-match series 2-0 with one match being washed out, he garnered praise from opposition players with Martin Guptill saying that he was the “pick of Pakistan’s bowlers.”

"Amir didn't give us too many bad balls," Guptill said of Amir’s bowling in the first ODI where he finished with figures of 3/28. "He got the ball swinging, which he hadn't done all series (the T20 series prior to the ODI series).

“It was a bit tougher today, and he bowled very well. He was definitely the pick of the Pakistani bowlers. He's proving what a world-class bowler he still is," he added. 

Though Waqar conceded that the youngster had indeed bowled well, he was cautious in his praise and feels Amir’s best is yet to come. 

"I still feel Amir's not at his best at the moment. I always knew that it's going to take some time. But he's getting there. He's started swinging the ball back at right-handers, which I think is key for the left-arm fast bowlers. And he's getting his pace back," said the Pakistan coach. 

Amir’s comeback to international cricket have been eventful, to say the least. The drama started back home in Pakistan when ODI skipper Azhar Ali and senior batsman Mohammad Hafeez refused to attend the pre-tour conditioning camp on grounds that they would not take part as long as the tainted fast bowler was around.

Azhar even threatened to step down from captaincy before the PCB stepped in and sorted out issues within the squad. Amir received mixed responses from the New Zealand crowd on his comeback while also being at the end of a nasty jibe by the ground announcer at Eden Park forcing the cricket authorities to apologize. 

Waqar conceded that such issues needed to be dealt with first before Amir could get back to his best. 

"There's still a lot of pressure for Amir, playing international cricket," Waqar said. "We're trying to ease him into it - not expecting blasts from him. As long as he gets to his peak, when the time is right, hopefully, he'll deliver the goods for Pakistan."

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