When life gives you the best and the worst, almost simultaneously in your teens, it can be a make-or-break lesson. For Mohammed Amir, who has had to answer more questions than anyone would want to at a very young age, it’s becoming increasingly evident that he is coming out stronger – both on and off the field.
As he continues to do well for Essex, while Pakistan take a break from international cricket, Amir has been giving media interviews regularly. And considering the inadvertent training that he has had at the very deep end of interrogations, Amir’s interviews are becoming increasingly as classy as his pace bowling.
First in an interview with Cricket Australia, Amir had to rubbish rumours of Test retirement.
“I’m fit, strong and healthy and have no intentions of quitting any format. What I had said was that as a cricketer you have to take care of your body and look after your fitness levels and someone altered that statement and quoted me as saying that I wanted to quit playing Test cricket,” he said.
More crucially he highlighted how his feet are firmly planted on the ground.
“I was not under any false impressions that my comeback would be easy and that I would hit the ground running,” he said, adding that making instant impact was always going to be an “impossible task.”
“It’s been about 18 months since my comeback and I think I am now showing the results of the hard work that I have put in. People need to be patient and I had to be patient, too, as these things take time,” Amir added.
The interview that stood out was when Amir was asked about Rohit Sharma’s comments from 2016 when the Indian batsman had called him an ‘ordinary’ bowler.
“That was his opinion about me and he is entitled to that opinion. Maybe his opinion about me has now changed. But let’s get one thing clear, I would never call him an ordinary batsman in fact I would call him an extraordinary batsman. His record for India is superb and I respect him. His opinions about other cricketers are up to him, but with all due respect I never worry about what other cricketers have to say about me,” Amir said.
It’s great that he left the best for the biggest match he has played since his comeback
to the side – the Champions Trophy final
“It’s not my concern at all and I just concentrate on my performances and what I am doing for my team. If I worried about other people’s opinions of me that would just cause me stress and that is why I avoid it. Everyone is entitled to their opinion, whether it’s labelling a cricketer world-class or ordinary; it is up to that individual.”
He has recently talked up his ‘bond’ with Indian captain Virat Kohli as well.
“He has given me a cricket bat as a gift on a couple of occasions, the most recent being at the Champions Trophy match (on June 4) in Birmingham.
“I think this sort of bond and friendship should be prevalent amongst all sportsmen of all nations. We are role models and we can bridge differences and bring people closer together.”
It would be an understatement to say that Amir has been under extraordinary pressure since he made his comeback 18 months ago. He was expected to blow batting lineups away from the get go.
That he couldn’t begin where he left off was deemed as a sign of decline and people were already asking more questions that they should have. Even now, if we go throw his stats – 43 wickets in 14 Tests for instance – they aren’t exactly world beating.
Even so, stats quite often do not reflect how well he has bowled. His lack of the rub of the green began to stand out.
But it’s great that he left the best for the biggest match he has played since his comeback to the side – the Champions Trophy final.
Now it begins all over again, but this time, expectations are going to be attached to the entire squad of the world champions.
That Amir is no ‘ordinary’ bowler has been known to the world since he first broke through. Whether he would rise from the ashes is a question that he is answering as well. He should now help his fellows learn the art of dealing with the media.