Mohammad Amir

 

Advertisement

Share |
11/06/27  Mohammad Amir born 13 April 1992 also known as Mohammad Aamer, is a Pakistani international cricketer, whose suspension and subsequent five year ban curtailed his promising career. He is a left arm fast bowler, who opened the bowling in all formats of the game. He made his first-class debut in 2007, and his first One-Day International and Test appearance in 2009 in Sri Lanka, at the age of 17. However, he played his first international match during the 2009 ICC World Twenty20, where he played in every game, helping the national side win the tournament.

Amir was touted as having the potential to be a leading fast bowler by former Pakistani left arm fast bowler Wasim Akram who picked him out as a prospect in 2007.Since Amir's establishment in the international arena, former Pakistani batsman Rameez Raja, as well as Akram himself, have stated that "He is much cleverer than at 18".

On August 29, 2010, he was implicated in allegations of spot-fixing and is currently serving a five-year ban for allegedly bowling two-deliberate no-balls, Amir however has announced that he plans to appeal the verdict handed out by his prosecutor the International Cricket Council.

Early life:

Mohammad Amir was born in 1992 in the remote village of Changa Bangyaal, Gujjar Khan, Punjab. He was the youngest of seven children. From a young age, he played street cricket, often trying to emulate his hero, Wasim Akram. He was quoted as saying, "Wasim Akram is my favourite, he's my idol. When I used to watch him on TV, I would try to see what exactly he was doing with the ball. Then I would go outside and imitate his actions and bowling.

In 2003, at the age of 11, Amir was spotted at a local tournament and invited to join the sports academy set up by the former Pakistan hockey international Asif Bajwa in Rawalpindi.

After joining the national team, Amir moved to Lahore with his family to be closer to top-flight cricket facilities.

Domestic career:

Amir was first selected as a fast bowler by the former Pakistani fast bowler Wasim Akram at a fast bowling camp in 2007. Amir, then 15 years old, went on a tour of England with the Pakistan U-19 cricket team and was one of the leading bowlers He took 8 wickets at an average of 16.37. In 2008 he took 4 wickets in successive matches against Sri Lanka and England. In this tri-nation tournament played in Sri Lanka he again excelled with his speed and swing bowling taking 9 wickets at average of 11.22 in three matches. Due to injury he played only a limited part in the 2008 ICC Under-19 Cricket World Cup held in Malaysia. In March 2008, he made his domestic debut for the Rawalpindi Rams whilst concurrently representing the National Bank of Pakistan. His debut domestic season resulted in him taking 55 first-class wickets for NBP. He took a lot of top order wickets including those of players in the national side. This strong domestic form resulted in him making his international breakthrough in the 2009 Twenty20 World Cup.

Twenty20 International career

2009 ICC World Twenty20:

Amir made his international debut against England in the group stages of the 2009 ICC World Twenty20. He took the wicket of Ravi Bopara with only his second ball, with Shoaib Malik taking a fine catch, and conceded only one run in his debut international over.

Amir continued to impress as the tournament continued, taking a wicket in his opening spell in 6 of the 7 games he played, including the final. He was particularly effective at using the short ball, with his skiddy bouncers rushing onto the batsmen, often causing them to miss-hit the ball for a catch. Amir consistently clocked speeds of above 136.7 kilometres per hour (85 miles per hour)and bowled his quickest delivery in the 2009 ICC World Twenty20 final against Sri Lanka, at 152 kilometres per hour (94.4 miles per hour). His most important moment arguably came in the opening over of the 2009 Twenty20 World Cup final against Sri Lanka.He bowled with speed and with consecutive short deliveries to the tournament's top scorer Tillakaratne Dilshan obtained his wicket on the fifth delivery and managed to end the over with a wicket maiden.

2010 ICC World Twenty20:

In the initial stages of the 2010 World Cup Amir took three wickets in a five wicket-maiden over in a Twenty20 International match against Australia. The other two men were run out in the same over. This set a world record of three wickets for a bowler in Twenty20 and 5 wickets for a team in one over.

Pakistan Cricket Board contract:

Amir was ignored by Pakistan Cricket Board when they awarded cricket contracts to Abdul Razzaq and Mohammad Yousuf, even after his exceptional performance in the 2009 ICC World Twenty20. Later on the Pakistan Cricket Board awarded Amir a 'C' category contract.

One Day International career:

Amir made his One Day International match debut against Sri Lanka taking 3 wickets at an economy rate of 4.50 and also scoring 23 runs. -On November 9, 2009 he scored 73 runs against New Zealand which is a record for a number 10 batsman. With his batting partner Saeed Ajmal, Amir added 103 runs to Pakistan's chase, only to fall short by 7 runs.

He impressed the Pakistan cricket team, including Wasim Akram, who took credit for discovering Amir, although Akram later commented that Amir needed to gain more weight to aid his development.

Later in 2009, Pakistan toured Sri Lanka and in the first One Day International match, he shared a 62 run partnership with fast bowler Umar Gul for the tenth wicket but Pakistan lost by 36 runs. He also played a game against New Zealand in 20092010. During a match in the third One Day International match, when Pakistan were reduced to 8 wickets for 86 runs, he scored 73 runs not out, making the highest score by a number 10 batsman in One Day International cricket and putting on a 103 runs, 10th wicket partnership with Saeed Ajmal. He was unable to get his side to their victory target of 212 runs, as Ajmal was declare out in the last over and Pakistan lost by just 7 runs.

Test career:

After his successful 2009 T20 World Cup tournament, Amir was selected in the test squad for Pakistan for the series in Sri Lanka. He was chosen alongside fast bowler Umar Gul and Abdur Rauf, ahead of more notable and experienced names such as Sohail Tanvir. He started his Test career well, taking six wickets in the match, which included the wicket of Sri Lankan captain Kumar Sangakkara in both innings, as well as the Sri Lankan batsman, Mahela Jayawardene's wicket in the 2nd innings. However he did not get any wickets in his next two Test matches. His next test wickets came in New Zealand where he managed to take four wickets in the first Test match, during a losing game. He won his first Test match with the Pakistan team during his 5th Test match, as Pakistan won comprehensively by 141 runs, he managed to take three wickets in the match including the wicket of Ross Taylor, who scored 97 runs in the second innings. He shone brightly with the bat as well and showed a solid technique for a lower order batsman.

During the Test match series against Australia in 2010, at the Melbourne Cricket Ground, he took his first five wicket haul, taking the wickets of Australian batsmen Ricky Ponting, Michael Hussey and Michael Clarke. On 24 July 2010 he was influential in helping Pakistan win the 2nd Test match against Australia; the first Test match Pakistan had won against them in 15 years, which also drew the series 1-1. During this match he took 7 wickets overall, and was declared man of the match. Overall, in the second series, he was the leading wicket taker of both teams with his 11 scalps.

In the summer of 2010, Amir was awarded the man of the match award for becoming the youngest player to ever take a five-wicket haul in England. He also became the youngest player to take 50 test wickets earning praise from several former international cricketers. In that eventful series against England, he took 19 wickets, the highest of the Pakistanis and third highest overall at an outstanding average of 18.3. He also took 2 five-wicket hauls.

Suspension, tribunal and ban

On September 2, 2010, after the warm-up List A game between Pakistan and Somerset, the International Cricket Council announced that they had suspended Amir under the provision of the provisions of the ICC's Anti-Corruption Code. The statement from the ICC stated that the three players (Asif, Amir and Salman Butt) were charged "under various offences under Article 2 of the ICC Anti-Corruption Code for Players and Player Support Personnel relating to alleged irregular behavior during, and in relation to, the fourth Test between England and Pakistan at Lord's last month".

Amir has got the sympathy of several ex-cricketers, including that of former England captain Michael Atherton. In an article for the News of the World, Atherton asserted that Amir is an asset to the game and must not be giving a harsh punishment, considering his immense talent and young age. Atherton, now a journalist and broadcaster, recalled how Nasser Hussain, also an ex-England skipper, had summed up the mood at Lord's last Sunday:

"Nasser Hussain, who I once saw walking around the team hotel in Sri Lanka in the early hours of the morning before a Test match unable to sleep, so worried was he about his form, spoke for us all when he said, 'Please don't let it be the kid'.

Atherton added: "The 'kid' in question was Mohammad Aamer, the young, good-looking and prodigiously-talented Pakistan bowler who had blown England away on the second morning at Lord's with a mesmeric spell of left-arm bowling and who now, we had been told, had overstepped the front line twice for a few dollars more.

Former South Africa bowler Henry Williams has called for Mohammad Aamer to be treated with compassion if found guilty of spot fixing.

The ICC announced that Amir, Mohammad Asif and Salman Butt had filed appeals to their ICC suspensions and set their hearing on October 30 and 31 in Qatar. The Pakistan Interior Ministry also gave the three players their passports back so that they could travel to the hearing being held in Qatar.

The Pakistan Cricket Board barred Mohammad Amir, Mohammad Asif and Salman Butt from using the National Cricket Academy in Gaddafi Stadium. They have been barred until their names have been cleared of Spot-fixing The board said that Butt had used the facilities before the notices were sent and Asif and Amir haven't used them.

Amir and Butt's appeals were heard by the ICC on 30 and 31 October 2010. They were however rejected and the players remain provisionally suspended. The case does not decide whether Amir is guilty but only if his suspension should be lifted. Both Butt and Amir hit out at the ICC stating they hadn't been given any evidence as to why their suspensions were rejected. Because the players couldn't participate in international cricket all three had their contracts also provisionally suspended by the Pakistan Cricket Board.

Mohammad Amir stated that he was desperate to return to international cricket. He stated that he had been keeping his fitnes levels high and that he had been participating in club cricket.

Reports also emerged by Geo News that stated that Scotland Yard might call Amir, Mohammad Asif and Salman Butt back into the UK to complete the spot-fixing investigation Amir's team-mate Butt who was also implicated in the Spot-fixing scandal announced that he wanted a delay in his hearing because he wanted the Scotland Yard investigation to be completed first. However Amir and Asif announced they were to go ahead with their trials as planned because they wanted a decision to be reached quickly so that they could be selected for the World Cup squad.

Amir, Butt, and Asif had a tribunal in front of a three-man panel of members of the ICC from January 611, 2011.Amir's lawyers requested that the tribunal not announce its findings at the conclusion of the tribunal, wanting the tribunal to have the time necessary to fully review the evidence.The tribunal announced at its conclusion that they would announce their findings and any possible restrictions about a month later (the fifth of February, 2011). The tribunal did announce that while additional charges against Salman Butt were filed over statements Majood had made about the Third Test, that Amir and Asif would not face any charges over that test.

On February 5, 2011, the ICC tribunal handed Amir a five-year ban, his teammate Mohammad Asif was handed a seven-year ban and Salman Butt was given a 10-year ban from participating in any cricketing related activities which are governed by the ICC or any of its members. Shortly after the decision Amir announced his intent to appeal the decision to the Court of Arbitration Amir also stated that he hoped to return to International Cricket soon, stating he had "received confidence and support from Pakistani fans supporting him outside the Qatar Financial Centre". Some former players around the world such as Michael Vaughan, Andrew Flintoff & Ian Healy called for Amir to be banned for life.

Breach of ban:

On 4 June 2011, Amir played an innings of cricket for Addington 1743 Cricket Club in a Surrey Cricket League match against St Luke's Cricket Club in breach of Article 6.5 of the ICC Anti-Corruption Code. Amir stated that he made enquiries in respect of the status of the match, and was informed that it was a friendly match and playing would not be in contravention of his ban. Addington 1743 claimed that they had asked whether or not Amir could play for them, and were told that he could. As of 10 June 2011, the ICC are investigating the incident.

Spot fixing allegations:

Main article: Pakistan cricket spot-fixing controversy

In August 2010, the English newspaper News of the World published allegations that Amir and fellow bowler Mohammad Asif deliberately bowled no-balls during Pakistan's 2010 tour of England in return for payment from a betting syndicate.

The News of the World alleged that an agent affiliated with some of the Pakistani players, later identified as Mazhar Majeed, had accepted a 150,000 (US$232,665) bribe from undercover reporter Mazher Mahmood for information that Amir and Asif would deliberately deliver no balls at specific points during the match, information which could be used by gamblers to make wagers with inside information (a process known as spot-fixing, compared with match fixing to predetermine a match result).

In the video posted by News of the World, Majeed, counting out the bribe money, promised that Amir would be Pakistan's bowler for the first over, and that the third ball of the over would be a no-ball delivery. Amir did bowl the first over, and on his third delivery from the over, bowled a no-ball delivery. Commentary described the delivery as a "massive overstep", a good half-metre beyond the popping crease.[34] Majeed also predicted that the sixth delivery of the tenth over would be a no-ball, and the ball, delivered by Asif, was also a no-ball delivery.

As a result of the allegations and video posted by News of the World, Scotland Yard announced during the evening that they had arrested Majeed on charges of suspicion of conspiracy to defraud bookmakers.

The allegations also affected the Mohammad Amir brand as the official Pakistani kit supplier BoomBoom Cricket announced that they had temporarily suspended their ties with Amir until further details on the allegations had emerged. BoomBoom stated that they will "make a complete decision once his fate had been decided by the authorities.

The Pakistani selector Yawar Saeed announced that Amir and the two other accused Salman Butt and Mohammad Asif had withdrawn from the Pakistani tour of England due to the mental torture suffered by the allegations. Amir also continued to protest his innocence in the allegations.

On 5 February 2011, the ICC announced that Amir would receive a five-year ban on playing cricket; his lawyer, Shahid Karim, said that he was "very disappointed but...hopeful we can appeal in 20 days' time.