Mohammad Amir proves fitness ahead of two-Test series against England
Mohammad Amir appeared to prove his fitness as Pakistan drew their final warm-up match ahead of the start of their two-Test series against England.
A two-day game against Leicestershire was always likely to end in a draw and that was the case as the Midlands county finished on 226 for six in reply to Pakistan’s first innings 321 for nine declared.
Amir was one of several first-choice players rested from this match ahead of the first Test at Lord’s starting Thursday after suffering a recurrence of a longstanding knee problem during Pakistan’s preceding five-wicket victory over Test debutants Ireland in Malahide, Dublin completed on Tuesday.
The left-arm quick did however bowl at a lively pace on the side of the square during the lunch break and is understood not to have suffered any adverse reaction.
Amir, now 26, saw his cricket career almost ended for good after he was caught up in a spot-fixing scandal during a 2010 Test against England at Lord’s. He was given a jail sentence by an English court and a five-year ban by the International Cricket Council, but made his return to the world stage two years ago.
In Amir’s absence, Pakistan still had several frontline bowlers playing against Leicestershire, who kept the tourists at bay thanks to a 50 from Ateeq Javid.
That Pakistan failed to dismiss Leicestershire, a Second Division county, may be regarded as disappointing but tour fixtures are a notoriously unreliable guide to how a team will perform in Test matches.
It is only two years ago since Pakistan, albeit with now retired batsmen Misbah-ul-Haq and Younis Khan in the side, drew a four-Test series in England 2-2. They also upset the odds to beat arch-rivals India in the final of last year’s Champions Trophy one-day tournament at The Oval in London.
That 2016 series also saw the now injured Yasir Shah play a key role and the performance of the leg-spinner’s teenage replacement Shadab Khan could now have an important bearing on this year’s shortened campaign.
Pakistan look likely to stick with the same side that beat Ireland with England, who failed to win a single one out of seven Test during their recent tours of Australia and New Zealand, recalling talented ball-striker Jos Buttler to a reshaped batting line-up.