Mohammad Amir has announced his retirement from Test Cricket recently. However, his premature retirement has raised a lot of questions but Pakistan head coach Mickey Arthur wasn’t surprised with Amir’s decision.
“It was on the cards for a long while. Amir had been speaking to me about it with me for some time now. His Test career was taking a strain on his body. It’s not about management here. It’s about his desire to play Test cricket and the effects it has on his body,” Mickey Arthur said to ESPNcricinfo.
“I think Amir’s an unbelievable bowler and reluctantly I accepted his decision because that’s what he wanted to do and that’s what he thought was best for himself. What it does do is give us a white-ball bowler that I think we can get a longer period from,” he added.
Amir was about to play in overseas Test tours only as he was rested for the five Tests in the UAE. Later, he was recalled for the three-match Test series in South Africa.
“Of course there was (a possibility Amir would only play away). We managed him through the South African series. He didn’t play any Test cricket during the UAE last year. That was part of his management, and we started putting that in place because we wanted him for the South African series,” he told.
However, former Pakistan pace bowlers Wasim Akram and Shoaib Akhtar were not happy with Amir’s decision at the age of 27. On the other hand, Arthur feels Amir could have played some time more.
“He had five years out of the game, we mustn’t forget that. In those five years, he didn’t do anything. His body was not up to the rigours of day in, day out Test cricket. We pushed him as much as we could during the England and South Africa series, because he is such a good bowler whom we wanted during those tours. We’ve tried everything we possibly could with Amir,” Arthur said.
“He could have managed those five years better. He’d be the first one to acknowledge that. But I understand where he was in his whole life, so it was a tough period for him. I understand all that. I’ve got a very soft spot for Mohammad Amir. As a person and as a cricketer, I admire him greatly. Yes, I am disappointed he won’t be playing Test cricket for us. But it was made in the best interests of his white-ball cricket in mind,” he expressed.
Amir has been in a great form in the World Cup where he scalped 17 wickets in eight games.
“We get a white-ball bowler who’s going to be rejuvenated, refreshed, and with a T20 World Cup just around the corner, in 18 months’ time we’ve got a potential match-winner because we know he performs on the big stage. Like every other player who plays for Pakistan, he’s going to need to put in match-winning performances. But he’ll certainly get the opportunity to do that, and he will start in our white-ball cricket,” the bowler further added.
“The Amir hype all those years ago was justified because he is a quality bowler. When the ball swings there’s not much better. But he’s not the bowler now that he was in 2009 and 2010. He was different, his body was different. Making a connection between the bowler now and then would be wrong. But had he not had those five years out of the game, I think he would be up there with the very best Pakistan have ever had,” Mickey Arthur concluded.