Australia, India bring the best out of me, says Amir

KARACHI (Monitoring Desk): Pakistan fast-bowler Mohammad Amir has admitted that he relishes big matches against the likes of Australia and India, especially the latter, performances against whom he says instantly makes or breaks a cricketer.

While talking to ESPNcricinfo, the ace pacer said: “I think I get extra energy when I play against India and Australia. I always want to perform against these two. Against India, the body language is different for both the sides because performing against India makes a mark in the world. The stardom increases, your value as a player increases.” The 25-year-old southpaw also touched upon his starring role in the final of the 2017 ICC Champions Trophy final when he rocked the Indian top-order with three wickets, including the prized one of Virat Kohli, whom he got out the ball after seeing a catch dropped on the previous one.

“I think those two balls changed my image in the UK,” he said. “The catch being dropped first and Kohli getting out on the second was a big achievement. And because of that we had won 60 to 70 percent of the match because India rely a lot on Kohli. After that dropped catch I was thinking about Fakhar Zaman how he scored a 100 after being given a second life. But Kohli got out on the next ball.” Despite that impressive showing, some still feel the post-comeback Amir has lost some of his ability to move the ball. The bowler himself doesn’t agree with that assessment though.

“The margin of swing in cricket has reduced now,” he said. “If you see, you don’t get swinging wickets now. I did swing the ball in the West Indies where conditions were suited for fast bowlers, which means my swing hasn’t disappeared. Where there is swing on offer, it swings.” While the jury may still be out on him, Amir says he is satisfied with what he’s done since coming back from his five-year ban.

“If I see as a bowler, I am satisfied,” he said. “If after five years a bowler comes and plays all three formats, plays in the leagues, then that means it’s an achievement because I didn’t play cricket in those five years and had hardly played five first-class matches. If you see it like that, then it was a huge achievement that I kept myself fit and played all three formats regularly.” Since his comeback Amir has been one of the most-used bowlers, leading some to question if he can cope with that that workload.

While taking a break in one of the three formats might an option later in the future, for now, Amir says he wants to play as much as he can. “It was slightly difficult for me because after five years the body had to take a new start but now there is a rotation policy in the ODIs and that gives the players on the bench a chance and the regular bowlers can get a rest,” he said. “If I do [take a break from any format] then everyone will get to know. Right now all three formats are on my mind.”