Pakistan coach Waqar Younis believes Mohammad Amir is returning to his best
Pakistani pacer Mohammad Amir is returning to the national side after serving a five-year ban from international cricket. And according to Pakistan head coach Waqar Younis, the pacer is nearing his best.
The fast bowler was only 18 when he was banned in 2011 for five years for his involvement in spot-fixing. He also served three months of a six-month prison term.
Since serving his ban, Amir has excelled in domestic first-class cricket and in the Bangladesh Premier League (BPL). Now he is set to make a comeback against New Zealand at Eden Park on January 15 in the first Twenty20 international.
Younis has been very impressed with what Amir has shown to date. But he believes the 23-year-old is not yet back to his best.
Soon you will see the best of Amir: Younis
The Pakistan coach said, "I think there's more to come. He is not at what you would probably have seen five years ago, but he's definitely thereabout. I guess once he's started playing at the international level, and he's played a few games and gets into it, you'll see the best of him."
When asked about the controversy regarding Amir’s return to the team, Younis said the Pakistan team was supportive towards Amir in his return to international cricket. According to him, the youngster had already paid the price for his mistakes and should be allowed a new start.
However, there was still immense pressure on Amir but Younis was confident that the left-arm pacer would handle this pressure well.
The former Pakistan captain said, "He was under pressure when he first arrived but he's fine, he's coping really well. The boys are helping him out to be part of the team, and I'm sure he's going to deliver the goods."
Amir will need to find his best as Pakistan look to rein in a Black Caps team which destroyed Sri Lanka in the second T20 at Eden Park on January 10. After edging to a three-run win in the first match, the Kiwis overwhelmed Sri Lanka in the second. Martin Guptill (63 off 25) and Colin Munro (50 off 14) was in particularly unforgiving form.
When Younis was asked about the upcoming challenge and the Kiwis performance against the Lankans, he replied, "The stats tell the story - they're playing some top cricket, and what they've done to Sri Lanka, that's something unreal. But I guess it's a different ball-game against us."