Arthur disappointed at Amir’s retirement from Test cricket

Pacer brought the curtain down in a bid to concentrate on limited-overs cricket

Arthur disappointed at Amir’s retirement from Test cricket PHOTO COURTESY: AP

Pakistan Head Coach Mickey Arthur has expressed his disappointment over pacer Mohammad Amir’s decision to retire from Test cricket.

Amir, who played 36 Tests for Pakistan after making his debut in 2009, brought the curtain down on his Test career in a bid to concentrate on limited-overs cricket.

“I've got a very soft spot for Mohammad Amir. As a person and as a cricketer, I admire him greatly,” Arthur told ESPNcricinfo. “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."

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Arthur also admitted that Amir had discussed the possibility of stepping away from Test cricket because of the impact it had on the latter’s body.  

"It was on the cards for a long while," he said. "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.”

He added: “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."

The South African also believes that if Amir had managed the years away from the game, when he was banned due to involvement in spot-fixing scandal, in a better manner; he would have been in a better position to prolong his Test career. But he conceded that it was tough period in the life of the fast-bowler.   

"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,” he 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.”

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The 51-year-old also spoke about the importance of having a refreshed Amir, bearing in mind the T20 World Cup next year.

"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," he said.