Mo­ham­mad Amir in fit­ness bat­tle

The Sunday Mail (Zimbabwe) - - SPORT -

PAK­ISTAN fast bowler Mo­ham­mad Amir is likely to be fit for se­lec­tion for to­day’s Cham­pi­ons Tro­phy fi­nal against In­dia, af­ter com­plet­ing an en­tire train­ing ses­sion at The Oval on Fri­day.

A back spasm had ruled Amir out of the semi-fi­nal against Eng­land on June 14, af­ter he failed a fit­ness test shortly be­fore the toss.

Azhar Mah­mood, Pak­istan’s bowl­ing coach, said Amir was fit but did not com­ment on whether the bowler would play the fi­nal.

“Amir bowled to­day, and is fit,” Mah­mood said.

“We have not de­cided about play­ing him yet.”

Amir’s likely avail­abil­ity could leave Pak­istan with a co­nun­drum, al­beit a happy one.

De­spite bowl­ing well, Amir was wick­et­less in the first two group matches, against In­dia and South Africa.

He had suc­cess against Sri Lanka, tak­ing 2 for 53 and scor­ing a valu­able 28 not out in an eighth-wicket part­ner­ship that sealed a semi-fi­nal place for Pak­istan.

“When you go to a fi­nal, you want your ex­pe­ri­enced player, you want him to be fully fit and par­tic­i­pat­ing on that par­tic­u­lar day,” Mah­mood said.

But (we have told him) if he has any doubt he should let us know.

“At the mo­ment he bowled and was fine.

“Yeah, def­i­nitely you would go with Amir, but we don’t mind if Amir can’t play. If he is not fit, then we have to move on.” In the semi-fi­nal, Amir was re­placed by Rum­man Raees, an­other left-arm fast bowler who made his ODI de­but in the match.

The 25-year-old shared the new ball with Ju­naid Khan and took 2 for 44 in Pak­istan’s eight-wicket vic­tory.

Along with Hasan Ali, who has emerged as Pak­istan’s bowler of the tour­na­ment, Raees and Ju­naid sur­prised Eng­land, dis­miss­ing one of the best bat­ting units over the last two years for just 211 runs.

Hasan, who suf­fered a calf nig­gle in the semi-fi­nal, did not train with the team but Mah­mood said the bowler was rest­ing as a pre­cau­tion.

“We have the bench strength,” Mah­mood said.

“Last match, when Amir was not there, peo­ple were wor­ried about our main strike bowler not play­ing.

“But the way Rum­man Raees came in and bowled, it showed we have the bench strength.

“We have guys who have such skill and such an abil­ity that they can per­form on any stage. It is just a mat­ter of self-be­lief and con­fi­dence. I think any­one can re­place any­one.”

Mah­mood did, how­ever, hint that if Amir was picked, it could be at the ex­pense of Raees.

“Let us see who is go­ing to play - Rum­man Raees or Amir. Doesn’t mat­ter.

He [Raees] is a qual­ity bowler, and he showed in the semi-fi­nals on a big stage he can do the job for us.”

Amir has been a near-con­stant pres­ence in the Pak­istan XI since his re­turn to in­ter­na­tional cricket at the start of 2016, play­ing 47 out of the side’s 57 in­ter­na­tional matches, across for­mats, in this pe­riod.-

Mo­ham­mad Amir (on the ground) hurt his left leg and left the field, when Pak­istan and In­dia met dur­ing the group stages of the ICC Cham­pi­ons Tro­phy.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Zimbabwe

© PressReader. All rights reserved.