Muhammad Amir had stunned the Cricket world when he made his debut at 2009 World T20, when he was only 17-year-old. But that was not the only time he stunned the Cricket world. Nobody knew there were going to be so many ups and downs in his career back then.
Many compared him with Wasim Akram and even the legend himself used to say that Amir bowls like the way he used to bowl as a teenager. Cricket experts had a hope that Amir will go on to take 500 wickets in ODI matches like Wasim Akram and would break his record of 916 wickets in International cricket, after making debut at such a young age.
Muhammad Amir helped Pakistan win the World T20 in 2009 and then dismissed Sachin Tendulkar at 2009 Champions Trophy, which is a dream for every bowler. He gave a tough time to Australia in Australia and then made another record at 2010 World T20, when he bowled a maiden over in 20th over of the innings, in which Australia lost 5 wickets.
Amir also played a key role as Pakistan defeated Australia and England in test matches in summer of 2010 but then came 2010 Lords test, which changed Amir’s career. It was proved that Amir was part of spot fixing scandal along with Salman Butt and Muhammad Asif. It was expected that Muhammad Amir will be key bowler for Pakistan in 2011 World Cup, but because of 5 year, ban he went on to miss 2011 and 2015 World Cup, along with 2012 and 2014 World T20.
Pakistanis almost forgot Muhammad Amir in those 5 years, as team had fast bowlers like Umar Gul, Junaid Khan, Muhammad Irfan, Wahab Riaz and many others who helped Pakistan win many series in those 5 years. But Muhammad Amir’s ban ended just before the 2016 World T20 and he started impressing in T20 leagues just before that time.
Salman Butt and Muhammad Asif were never given a chance to make a comeback in International team, but Muhammad Amir was supported by Shahid Afridi and Najam Sethi, who were captain of national team and Chairman PCB at that time, respectively. Muhammad Amir was given a chance because they thought he was too young at the time when he made mistake and could not differentiate between the right and wrong.
Muhammad Amir made a comeback and bowled a magnificent spell in the match against India at the 2016 Asia Cup, where he took 3 crucial wickets of the top order and almost dismissed Indian skipper Virat Kohli, who went on to play the match winning knock. Virat Kohli praised Muhammad Amir and also gifted him his bat at the 2016 World T20.
After one year, in the Champions Trophy 2017 final, Amir once again showed his class against India. He dismissed Rohit Sharma for a duck and although Kohli was dropped by Azhar Ali off Amir’s bowling, the fast bowler dismissed his rival off the very next ball. Amir also took the key wicket of opener Shikhar Dhawan to dent India’s chances of coming back in the match.
But after that performance, Amir’s performance started to go down. He took 5 wickets in next 15 ODI matches, after having a horrible Asia Cup in 2018. He could only one wicket in 3 ODI matches against Zimbabwe and went wicket less in most of matches in next 2 years. Muhammad Amir was dropped from the team for 2019 World Cup but was suddenly brought back to replace Junaid Khan in the team.
But Muhammad Amir proved many of his critics wrong after being the top wicket-taker of Pakistan at the event. Although he stopped the Australian batsmen from going beyond 310 runs by picking up wickets, it was not enough as Pakistan lost that match. He picked 17 wickets in 8 matches at World Cup.
After the World Cup, there was another shocking decision from Muhammad Amir when he announced retirement from the red ball cricket. According to Amir, he was overburdened and bowled too many overs, which caused the fatigue. Many critics once again bashed Muhammad Amir for running away from the longest format as they thought he wanted to focus more on the T20 leagues around the world.
Amir was in action next as Pakistan next faced Sri Lanka at home in October. Amir went wicket less in 2 T20 matches, which Pakistan lost. He played Australia in T20 International in November where Amir picked only 1 wicket in 3 matches.
After that Amir had to stay away from International cricket for many months due to Coronavirus break. He came back against England in August after a long break but got injured after just 2 overs. He had to leave the over incomplete and Pakistan lost that match as well.
Muhammad Amir was dropped for the series against Zimbabwe at home. He was disappointed but kept playing in the T20 leagues, as he helped Karachi Kings win the PSL and also helped Galle Gladiators reach the final in Lanka Premier League.
But still Muhammad Amir could not make the 35-man squad for the tour of New Zealand. Muhammad Amir started showing disappointment on social media and started questioning the head coach/chief selector Misbah-ul-Haq and bowling coach Waqar Younis openly. Some statements from both sides finally resulted in Muhammad Amir giving a statement about not playing under the present team management.
According to Muhammad Amir, he was mentally tortured by the team management and he could not take any more pressure. He accused team management of giving this wrong perception that Amir was selfish and did not want to represent the country. Amir said he always wanted to give his best for team in limited overs cricket and despite bowling more than 1200 overs in 4 years, he was not given back the reward.
After the news was broken on national media, the chief executive of PCB Wasim Khan also talked to Amir and released a statement that Amir does not want to play International cricket for now.
But now the question is, what Amir’s future plans are. Does he want to change nationality and play for some other country? Recently, Sami Aslam also signed a contract with USA cricket, whereas they have also acquired services of England’s Liam Plunkett and New Zealand’s Corey Anderson. Muhammad Amir is expected to make an important announcement in next few days, which will clear many rumours.
Writer is a sports lover, who passionately watches Cricket, Football, Tennis and especially all sports featuring Pakistan. Previously worked for 4 mainstream channels Dawn, Samaa, Dunya and 92 News in past. Currently working with GNN.