KARACHI: Pakistan captain Babar Azam offered a glimmer of hope for Mohammad Amir’s potential return to the national team, saying he will “talk to him about his issues”. In an interview with Cricket Pakistan, Azam said he hadn’t yet spoken to his Karachi Kings teammate on the matter, but acknowledged he was “one of Pakistan’s best bowlers”.
This is the first time the Pakistan captain has publicly addressed Amir’s departure from international cricket last year citing “mental torture he could not bear”. At the time, he had accused the coaching staff of “saying things against me”.
The bitter nature of the departure, and subsequent statements by Amir of a similar non-conciliatory nature, meant the prospect of the two sides coming to a resolution have looked more remote than ever.
“When we talk, we’ll discuss what his issues [with the national side] are,” Azam said. “He’s one of the best left-arm bowlers and I really admire him. The way he’s performed in the PSL so far, I just hope he performs the same way again, and that’s what we are focused on so far.”
Amir had focused his criticisms on the current coaching staff when he retired, singling out Waqar Younis, the bowling coach. Head coach Misbah-ul-Haq hit back a few days later, accusing Amir of “making up” the circumstances that prompted his retirement.
That, coupled with Amir’s repeated praise of former Pakistan head coach Mickey Arthur and previous PCB chairman Najam Sethi might make a return to the fold under present circumstances unlikely; Amir has gone as far as saying he would “only return once this management leaves”. That means in the event of a change at the top of the PCB, either cricketing or administrative, the chances of Amir being welcomed back are less distant.
Amir’s decision to retire was immediately accepted by CEO Wasim Khan, and further remarks by Amir have yielded no comment from the PCB.