When Mohammad Amir retired from international cricket, he alleged ‘mental torture’ from the current coaching set up for his decision. Head coach Misbah-ul-Haq has now clarified that Amir was dropped from the side because of his declining form and the team could no longer just bank on the past performances.
“I never said that I would not play ODIs and T20Is for Pakistan just because of T20 leagues, these members of PCB management kept on saying that I left Tests for T20 leagues and this proved crucial in destroying my image and people started talking about it,” Amir told on his YouTube channel.
“I am not weak, if I was I would have never been able to make a comeback after 2010. I do not have issues with Wasim Khan and Ehsan Mani, I just have a problem with the current PCB management who is dealing with the players,.”
While Amir felt he wasn’t valued by the coaching setup, Misbah has stressed the pacer didn’t put in encouraging performances to be included in the side that toured New Zealand. “Mohammad Amir has his own opinions. I’ve always respected players. I was captain when he came back to international cricket in 2016. I kept everything aside and supported him. As a coach also I’ve supported him,” Misbah pointed out.
“I remember before England tour he had a personal problem. I tried everything to convince him. He didn’t travel to England but messaged me later. We recalled him because we needed senior bowlers. He got injured and his form went down as well. We wanted to play youngsters against Zimbabwe. He came back from injury and when he played his performance wasn’t good. He wasn’t at his best. He wasn’t able to get into the Northern side. The other bowlers were performing well there.”
Incidentally, Amir retired from Test cricket in July 2019 in order to focus on white-ball cricket, a decision that was subsequently slammed by then Pakistan head coach Waqar Younis who felt his team was shortchanged on the tour of Australia by Amir’s decision. The left-arm pacer, who enjoyed a productive World Cup campaign, then dwindled in the shorter formats as per the team’s coaching staff.
“Waqar and I spoke to him. We expect him to go full throttle for four overs in T20Is. If you can’t do that, with your pace which has come down from 87-88 mph to 80-81 mph, it will be difficult for the team to perform. Shaheen, Naseem and Hasnain are performing and you have to compete against them. It can’t be like just because you are senior bowler, you get performance. Amir hasn’t reached his peak form. Nothing personal.
“Waqar never had anything to do with his exclusion. There were six people – the selectors, the captain – no one wanted to support him. We’ve always respected him and he should have gone and focussed on his form and performances.”
Since January 2019, Amir played just nine T20Is and had picked seven wickets at an average of 32. In the last two seasons of Pakistan Super League, the pacer has bagged 23 wickets from 20 matches. Once he was dropped from the side, Amir decided to head to Lanka Premier League where he picked 11 wickets from ten matches. However, after the tournament he decided to end his international career. Amir also alleged he was penalised for playing T20 Leagues.
“When you dropped me for the New Zealand tour, I wanted to showcase my skills so Lanka Premier League was around the corner and I took the opportunity to play for Galle Gladiators,” he had said then. “Haris Rauf came into the Pakistan team through Big Bash League. So as a player, this is what we can do, we can perform and make a comeback. In the current system, I get to know through social media that I have been dropped from the squad. You could have told me why you are dropping me, but you are sitting back and talking about Test cricket.”
Misbah, however, clarified Amir would still be welcome in the Pakistan side if he can improve his performances and is willing to come out of retirement. “We weren’t playing ODI cricket. Your previous performances matter but also your current form. If we go by previous performances, no player will go out of the team,” he said.
“The other bowlers were performing better. Amir played in the same tournament and yet Haris and Shaheen were on top of the table. I am not disrespecting him. He’s a quality bowler. I’ll welcome him back if he wants to come back. I’ve always respected his decision. It’s his personal decision. As a senior player, you have to lead the team. You can’t be in surviving mode.”
Amir ended his career having played 30 Tests, 61 ODIs, and 50 T20Is in his international career, picking up a total of 259 international wickets. His last appearance for Pakistan came in the T20I series against England in August last year.