Pakistan head coach Misbah-ul-Haq has hit back at Mohammad Amir, saying that the pacer “made up” the circumstances surrounding his retirement from international cricket. Having retired from Tests in 2019, Mohammad Amir sensationally brought down curtains on his limited-overs career too last month. After his decision, he had said that “enough is enough” in December as he lashed out at the team-management.
Mohammad Amir cited “mental torture” in his decision to quit international cricket. He slammed Misbah-ul-Haq and bowling coach Waqar Younis for “spoiling” his image. Speaking on his official YouTube channel, the left-arm pacer Amir made it clear that his issues stemmed from differences with the coaches.
Misbah-ul-Haq, however, has stated otherwise, saying that Amir’s claims had blown the situation “out of proportion”. The former Pakistan skipper said that the pacer had not been an automatic selection and suggested that he should have gone back to domestic cricket to prove his form. Amir’s decision came just days after he was not picked in the Pakistan squad for the tour of New Zealand.
The team-management took the decision because of the pacer’s indifferent performance in the last couple of years. In that period he picked up seven wickets at 32.00 in nine T20Is with an economy rate of 8. Amir was a part of the Pakistan team for the T20I series in England last year where he went wicketless in 4.1 overs across two games. His performance in domestic cricket was not promising either. Amir managed to pick up only six wickets at 38.83 in seven games in the National T20 Cup.
“There was talk about Waqar Younis related to Amir but there is no truth in it at all,” Misbah-ul-Haq said. “There were six [association] coaches as selectors, me as chief selector and then there was a captain. So this is absolutely not possible, [the idea] that one person out of all could have influenced the decision.
“Nobody was supporting his selection on the basis of performance. I have no idea why he made up everything and tried to give this whole scenario a context that is out of proportion. For him, it was a simple method: go back and prove his form and get back in the team and everything else is irrelevant,” he added.
Misbah-ul-Haq further pointed out how he welcomed Amir in the Pakistan team as a captain when the latter returned to international cricket after serving his ban for the spot-fixing scandal. He also highlighted how he and Waqar recalled Amir to the team for the tour of England last year after the pacer had initially pulled out of the series because of personal reasons before changing his mind.
“Amir has his own point of view and I have always respected every senior or junior cricket,” Misbah-ul-Haq said. “I was the captain when he came back [from his five-year ban] and I had welcomed him and supported him for Pakistan, keeping everything aside.
“I remember during England tour [in 2020] I gave my everything to convince him for the tour but he didn’t go on personal ground and initially decided not to go. But then later after coming out of his personal issues he messaged me about his availability and even then me and Waqar bhai recalled him, giving him ample respect as a senior pro. But then he got injured and he also had an evident dip in his form,” he added.
Misbah-ul-Haq on Amir’s poor performances:
Speaking further, Misbah-ul-Haq criticised Amir’s performance. The pacer had gone wicketless on the England tour and had a poor stint in the National T20 Cup before he was left out of the home series against Zimbabwe.
“Against Zimbabwe last year we gave him a simple reason that we are going to play youngsters like [Mohammad] Hasnain, Haris Rauf, Musa Khan. He saw him in a T20 tournament, envisaging that he will mark a comeback to earn his place but then there were others in his team [Northern] who were doing better than him. He missed few games and was even struggling to get in the side,” said the Pakistan coach.
“So there was a simple plan for him and we talked out with him very clearly in England. [We told him] you are our senior bowler, our strike bowler and since you play T20 cricket, we expect you to go all out. In four overs you have to go full throttle, take wickets for Pakistan up front and that’s your role. But then, if it’s not happening and despite your ability to bowl up to 87-88mph, you are bowling at 81mph then it will be increasingly difficult for the team.
“When there are bowlers like Shaheen [Afridi], Hasnain, Haris who are giving [everything] for the team, improving and doing better than him, then he had to compete with them to get in the side. He, despite being a senior bowler, can’t be preferred without proving his form. It was simply the performance and nothing else. At the when team was announced [for the New Zealand tour] he hasn’t had his form nor his bowling at his full peak. That was a straight case and there is nothing personal,” he added.
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