Cricket

PAK Vs NZ, 2nd T20I: 3.5 Years Hence, Mohammad Amir Makes Ball Talk Again

Mohammad Amir had retired from international cricket in 2020, citing mental torture from the Pakistan Cricket Board. He picked up two wickets in his first two overs upon return, during the second T20I against New Zealand in Rawalpindi

Mohammad Amir takes Dean Foxcroft wicket, Pakistan vs New Zealand 2nd T20I, April 20, 2024, AP photo
Pakistan's Mohammad Amir celebrates after taking the wicket of New Zealand's Dean Foxcroft during the second T20I in Rawalpindi on April 20, 2024. Photo: AP/Anjum Naveed
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Three and a half years after last playing international cricket, Mohammad Amir finally had the ball in hand for the Pakistan national cricket team in the second T20I against New Zealand in Rawalpindi on Saturday (April 20, 2024). Though Amir technically made his comeback in the first T20I, that game was abandoned due to rain after just two balls were bowled by Shaheen Shah Afridi, and Amir did not get a chance to roll his arm over. (More Cricket News)

The talented left-arm seamer certainly did that in the second T20I on Saturday, and also picked up two wickets in his first two overs upon return. Amir had Tim Robinson caught by Iftikhar Ahmed at short cover off the second ball he bowled on the day. He then followed it up with the scalp of Dean Foxcroft, who was caught by Babar Azam in the mid-off region.

Pakistans Mohammad Amir, second right, celebrates with teammates after taking the wicket of New Zealands Tim Robinson during the second T20I in Rawalpindi on April 20, 2024.
Pakistan's Mohammad Amir, second right, celebrates with teammates after taking the wicket of New Zealand's Tim Robinson during the second T20I in Rawalpindi on April 20, 2024. Photo: AP
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Amir, who used to be among the most exciting talents in world cricket, had retired from the international scene in 2020, citing mental torture from the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB). Fast forward nearly four years, and the pacer was named in Pakistan's three-pronged seam attack for the New Zealand T20I series alongside Shaheen Shah Afridi and Naseem Khan.

This happened after Amir announced his decision to come out of retirement in March 2024, making himself available for the upcoming ICC T20 World Cup 2024 in June. The move is said to have been spurred by positive discussions with the PCB, with the board reassuring him of his value to the team and the country.

"I am making a comeback for Pakistan after almost four years, this is a very special moment for me. This is like my debut series," Amir had told the media ahead of the New Zealand series.

The return adds another chapter to Amir's tumultuous ride in top-flight cricket. His career had seemed full of possibilities in his early days, but slammed into a major hurdle in 2010 when he was implicated in a spot-fixing scandal, that led to a five-year ban from all forms of cricket and a brief jail term as well.

Amir overcame the setbacks and made his first comeback to international cricket in January 2016, again showing his splendid skills. His performances, especially during Pakistan's ICC Champions Trophy-winning campaign in 2017, was a reminder of his remarkable talent.

But things took a turn for the worse in December 2020, when Amir, then aged 28, announced his retirement from international cricket. The speedster cited mental torture and dissatisfaction with the management as his reasons. He said at the time that the repeated taunts and the mental strain he faced due to the spot-fixing controversy made it impossible for him to continue.

Now, Amir 3.0 appears to have emerged, and is eager to give elite cricket another go.

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