LONDON: Saying that he feared he would never play cricket again during his five-year spot-fixing ban for bowling deliberate no-balls at Lord’s in 2010, Pakistan paceman Mohammad Amir eyes becoming the world’s best bowler.
In an exclusive interview with Sky Sports’ Michael Atherton, the seamer said he couldn’t touch a ball for three years.
Amir is set to make his return to Test cricket after a six-year absence at the venue he last played, Lord’s, in the first game of Pakistan’s four-Test series against England on July 14.
And the 24-year-old harbours ambitions of becoming the best bowler in the world.
“Life was very tough and there were times I thought I might not be able to play again,” said Amir. “I didn’t pick up a ball for three years.
“It was very depressing for me, because as a professional, it’s very difficult when you can’t use the facilities, play cricket, you can’t even touch the ball, so what are you going to do then?
“They are terrible memories, but now they are helping me because I’ve learned a lot and I want to be a better human being, and a better behaved cricketer,” the left-arm pacer added.
“I am still learning. Nobody can be Mr Perfect. But the past is the past and I’m looking forward now. I want to be the best cricketer I can be for my country. If I work hard, the main aim for me is to be the world’s best bowler.
“It’s very special for me to be representing my country again and at the same place which it ended; same team, same crowd. I think for me it’s a miracle, but dreams come true.”
Amir was one of three Pakistan players embroiled in the spot-fixing scandal in the Lord’s Test against England six years ago.
Amir, fellow seamer Mohammad Asif, and the then-captain Salman Butt received prison sentences as well as suspensions from cricket after being found guilty of taking bribes from bookmaker Mazhar Majeed.
“Lord’s is a very special place, I have good and bad memories but now I hope to make more good memories for the future. I want to put my name on the honours board, like in 2010,” Amir stated.
“Everybody has the right to their own opinion, and the crowd has the right to say some things, but my aim is to do well and behave. If I perform, hopefully they will forgive me and they will shout for me one day,” he added.
Amir believes England are a tough opposition in their backyard but was quick to add that Pakistan would do their best to overcome them.
“England are a good team, and especially in home conditions they are very good, but we will work hard and try to beat them,” he said.
“England have a good batting line-up; Alastair Cook is a good player and Joe Root is doing very well. Every batsman is just as important to get out, but especially Cook, as he is the captain and the backbone of the team. I will try my best to bowl him.
“I am still learning as person, but as a player hopefully I am doing well. I can still swing the ball both ways, maybe you will see in the first Test. I think it will be a good series,” Amir said.
Courtesy : Dawn News