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Arthur backs Amir despite worrying form

Pakistan pacer has taken just five wickets in 14 ODI matches since the ICC Champions Trophy 2017 final in June

Arthur backs Amir despite worrying form PHOTO: Reuters

The Pakistan Head Coach Mickey Arthur has admitted that bowling spearhead Mohammad Amir’s form has been a worry, but he remains confident the left-armer has all the attributes to bounce back ahead of the International Cricket Council (ICC) World Cup 2019.

Amir, 26, has been struggling to take wickets, having taken just five wickets in 14 ODI matches since the ICC Champions Trophy 2017 final in June.

He went for 59 runs in his nine wicketless overs during the first ODI against Australia on Friday and was subsequently left out of the playing line-up for the second match two days later.

According to an official press release issued by PCB, Arthur said: “Yes, Amir’s form is a worry and nobody is more worried than Amir. I still think he is an incredibly skilled bowler and has all the attributes to be successful. He has got a big match temperament and we will see how we use him going forward.”

While talking about recalling Umar Akmal in the national side, the 50-year-old admitted that the middle-order batsman was getting better.

“Discipline-wise, there is a change, definitely,” the coach replied when asked about Akmal’s discipline.

The right-handed batsman was withdrawn from the squad a week before the ICC Champions Trophy 2017 after failing a fitness test.

He has scored 49 and 16 in the two matches against Australia.

“I can’t sit here and fault as the way he has come into the team. The way he has prepared, he has been very good,” he said. “He has done a good job while being in this environment. He knows the standings are to be in this environment to be in contention for a berth going forward. I can’t fault his attitude. “

The Johannesburg-born also spoke about players’ fitness test ahead of World Cup.  

“The fitness has got better but there is still work to do,” he said. “The fitness test is on April 14 and to be eligible to go for World Cup, you need to pass that fitness test."

Arthur also promised that his team will give their best to bounce back in the third match against Australia in Abu Dhabi on Wednesday, reiterating every time his players go on the field they want to win.

Pakistan are using the series to provide further experience and exposure to their bench strength, a ploy that has produced decent results with middle-order batsman Haris Sohail and wicketkeeper-batsman Mohammad Rizwan scoring centuries and fast-bowler Mohammad Hasnain making an impressive debut.

Arthur confirmed there will be no debuts on Wednesday, meaning opener Abid Ali and middle-order batsman Saad Ali will have to wait.

Pacer Usman Shinwari will replace Faheem Ashraf — rested from the final three matches — while another left-arm pacer Junaid Khan will come in place of Mohammad Abbas.

“We are trying to increase the depth of Pakistan cricket. We always get castigated for not trying new players and now we are getting castigated for giving opportunities to new players,” he said. “I think people need to understand that we are a very passionate team. Every time we go on to the field, we go there to win for Pakistan."