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Amir eyes another Taunton triumph

June 12, 2019

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TAUNTON: Mohammad Amir will hope to enjoy another landmark occasion at Taunton when Pakistan face reigning champions Australia there in the World Cup match at the County Ground on Wednesday.

The group fixture at southwest county Somerset’s headquarters sees Amir back at the ground where he made his return to first-class cricket in England three years ago. But with the Australia clash is threatened by rain which has played havoc with several World Cup fixtures.

Amir was the rising star of world cricket when his career came to a stunning halt during a Lord’s Test in 2010 after both he and new-ball partner Mohamed Asif were caught bowling no-balls on the orders of then Pakistan captain Salman Butt as part of a newspaper sting operation.

The trio all received five-year bans from cricket and jail terms.

That same 2010 season had seen Amir produce a superb display of swing bowling in taking three for 20 as Pakistan dismissed Australia for just 88 on the first day of the ‘neutral’ Test at Headingley.

Those skills remained intact as Amir marked his 2016 return to the first-class game in England in 2016 with a haul of three for 36 against Somerset at Taunton.

All three wickets — including that of former England opener Marcus Trescothick — owed much to late swing.

The intervening years have not been easy for Amir, however, and he almost missed what is his first World Cup after taking just five wickets in 14 matches before a recent one-day international series in England.

Amir did not bowl in the washed-out first match against England and missed the last four games with chicken pox. England won the series 4-0.

But having been left out of Pakistan’s preliminary squad for the World Cup, the 27-year-old made it into the final 15.

Published in Dawn, June 12th, 2019