Politics and Cricket: Why Muhammad Aamir quit? Shafaqna Special

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Pakistan fast bowler Mohammad Amir has retired from international cricket, the PCB has confirmed. Amir represented Pakistan in 36 Tests, 61 ODIs and 50 T20Is, and recently played in the inaugural Lanka Premier League for runners-up Galle Gladiators.

“Pakistan Cricket Board chief executive Wasim Khan spoke with Mohammad Amir this afternoon following reports that the fast bowler had announced his retirement from international cricket. The 28-year-old confirmed to the PCB chief executive that he has no desires or intensions of playing international cricket and as such, he should not be considered for future international matches,” a PCB statement said. “This is a personal decision of Mohammad Amir, which the PCB respects, and as such, will not make any further comment on this matter at this stage.”

The statement serves as another reminder of the extent to which relations between Amir and the current team management have broken down. It came off the back of an interview he gave to Samaa TV earlier on Thursday, in which Amir claimed he had been “mentally tortured” by the team management, taunted frequently and was being deliberately sidelined by them.

Last year, Amir surprised everyone by quitting Test cricket in order to prolong his limited-overs career, a move that was seen as self-centred by some former players including coach Waqar Younis. Pakistan needed Amir’s services in the Tests at the time to guide the rookie pacers, but his preference for the lucrative T20 leagues instead, proved controversial. Amir finished as Pakistan’s best bowler in the 2019 World Cup with 17 wickets but the team could not get into the semi-finals. His poor form this year did not see him get selected for the home series against Zimbabwe and he was overlooked for the New Zealand tour in a massive squad of 35, which was perhaps the last straw.

With a new crop of pacers constantly making their way into the team, Amir was no more an automatic selection though. That may have put him under some psychological pressure which also affected his performance. In July last year, Amir announced his retirement from Test cricket. And that was where he might have angered head coach Misbah-ul-Haq and bowling coach Waqar Younis. He was thus dropped from the limited-overs home series against Zimbabwe tour and the ongoing New Zealand tour – something that triggered his announcement to retire from international cricket.

It’s unfortunate that a genuinely talented player – who was declared ‘the most talented fast bowler’ by none other than the legendary Wasim Akram and who the likes of Virat Kohli dreaded – is being wasted. No player is bigger than the game though, egos are running high on both sides. Some go-betweens should play a role.

Shafaqna Pakistan

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