Pakistan News

Sarfaraz Ahmed’s statements put a question mark on Mohammad Amir’s selection in World Cup

Mohammad Amir’s World Cup selection was throw into uncertainty after captain Sarfaraz Ahmed expressed concerns over the experienced left-arm pacer’s inability to take wickets in One-day Internationals.

Pakistan captain Sarfaraz Ahmed is concerned with pacer Mohammad Amir’s lack of form, ahead of the all-important International Cricket Council (ICC) World Cup 2019 in England and Wales.

Amir, 26, has been struggling to take wickets, having bagged just five wickets in 14 one-day international (ODI) matches since the ICC Champions Trophy 2017 final in June. He went for 59 runs in his nine wicketless overs during the first ODI against Australia on Friday and was subsequently left out of the playing line-up for the remainder of the series.

While speaking during a show on a local news channel, Sarfaraz said: “When your strike bowler is not taking wicket, it is a worrisome sign. His pace and swing has also reduced. We can only pray that his form returns.”

Sarfaraz agreed that there had not only been a drastic cut in the strike rate for Amir but his pace had also come down. Photo via Reuters / Andrew Couldridge Livepic.

The wicketkeeper-batsman also refrained from giving a clean answer on whether Amir will be a part of Pakistan’s squad for the mega event.

“You will get the answer to that question in a few days’ time. I can’t say whether he (Amir) will be in the World Cup squad or not but our minds are clear about our plans and when the squad is announced everyone will know,” the Pakistan skipper added.

Pakistan are likely to leave out pacer Mohammad Amir from the International Cricket Council (ICC) 2019 World Cup squad, on back of his poor performances in the recent past, reported Daily Express.

According to Daily Express, Head Coach Mickey Arthur has lost faith in the 26-year-old fast-bowler and is considering other options, along with team management, for the final fast-bowling slot.

‘Nobody more worried about Amir’s form than Amir’ – Arthur. Photo: Getty Images

The source confirmed that Amir’s selection is dicey since even the bowling coach Azhar Mahmood seem to have lost faith in him making a comeback.

“Arthur has backed Amir all through this time but with more pace options available now, he is having second thoughts about reposing faith in Amir in the big event,” Daily Express reported.

Since the Champions Trophy final at the Oval in 2017, when he produced a match-winning spell of 3/16, 26-year-old Amir 26, has not taken more than a wicket per game in 14 ODIs and has also gone without a wicket in nine of these matches. He has hit an average of around 85 per wicket in these 14 games and even his pace and strike rate have gone down in Test matches.

Amir, who has played 36 Tests, 50 ODIs and 43 T20 Internationals in a career blighted by the 2010 spot-fixing scandal and subsequent five-year ban, was publicly criticised by Sarfaraz along with the other bowlers during the Test series in South Africa in January.

The only confirmed names in Pakistan’s fast-bowling contingent, for the mega event, are Hasan Ali and Shaheen Shah Afridi.

For the third pacer slot, there is a tight race between Junaid Khan, Usman Khan Shinwari and Mohammad Abbas.

Young pacer Mohammad Hasnain has also risen in the pecking order due to his raw pace, despite claiming just two wickets in three matches during the recently concluded ODI series against Australia in UAE. The team management believes that he will be a good choice, keeping in mind English conditions.

The selectors are due to announce the Pakistan World Cup squad on April 18 and sources say that they are likely to announce 17 to 18 players to go to England on April 23.

Pakistan is due to play a five-match ODI series against England besides some matches against English counties in May and since every country has to give final shape to its 15-member World Cup squad by 23rd May, the selectors might want to have a final look at Amir before deciding on whether he plays in the mega-event or not,” a source said.h

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