Mohammad Amir’s decision to retire from international cricket comes as a shock for fans around the globe. The star pacer still has many years of cricket left in him and is an asset for the Pakistani team. He had retired from Test cricket in 2019 and wanted to lay his focus on white-ball cricket. Recently, the pacer was dropped from the side for the T20Is against New Zealand. Amir, who wasn’t included in the 35-member squad touring New Zealand, then took a dig against head coach Misbah-ul-Haq.
Since Misbah’s appointment as the coach post the World Cup in 2019, Amir didn’t hold a regular spot in the side. He made just eight appearances in T20Is under Misbah, claiming only four wickets during this phase. Yes, Amir didn’t perform to the standards expected, but given the Pakistani team’s performance, he is still one of the best in business in a format where he has accumulated 59 wickets in total.
On Thursday, Amir claimed in an interview that he has been mentally tortured by the management and there were taunts by senior figures regarding his spot-fixing scandal back in 2010. Amir also said that despite serving the five-year punishment and making a comeback to the side, he is unnecessarily criticized. Amir has also been targeted for his decision to retire from Tests earlier in 2019. It was a personal decision and one cannot make judgements before talking to the concerned individual. A lot was said and that impacted him mentally.
Since Misbah has taken charge, he and his staff haven’t quite raised the standards of the side. They are over-reliant on Babar Azam and there is far too much inconsistency in the ranks. Rather than backing Amir and supporting him to fight for his berth in the side, they shunned him completely. This is wrong. Notably, Amir was the highest wicket-taker for Pakistan in the 2019 World Cup (17 scalps). So how can things go so wrong for a player in just over a year’s period?
The management should have sat down with Amir and communicated properly in what they need from him. How can he improve himself and what’s the way back into the scheme of things? One feels sad for Amir and the manner in which he has forced himself to call it quits from the game because of the factors surrounding him. Pakistan cricket team management has indeed let down Amir in many ways and the current management will need to take the blame.