Pakistan bowling coach Waqar Younis on Tuesday said he has moved on from the hurt caused by Mohammad Amir’s Test retirement last year and considers the pacer a crucial part of the national team’s plans going forward, reported PTI.
Having initially pulled out due to the birth of his second child, Amir made himself available for next month’s T20 series against England on Monday. Younis welcomed him back but touched upon the anger he felt at Amir’s Test retirement ahead of a tour of Australia last year.
“Amir remains part of our plans for the future as he is experienced. We want to utilise him if he is up to the mark, if he can win matches for Pakistan. Next year we have the World Cup,” Younis is quoted as saying in an online media interaction.
“It hurt at that time when he decided to retire from Test cricket but we have to move on and do what is best for the country,” he added.
Amir had quit Test cricket last year, a decision which did not reportedly go down well with the team management. It led to speculations that the pacer may be ignored when the squad is picked for the World Cup, scheduled to be held in Australia later this year.
“I wouldn’t imagine Pakistan going to the World T20 without Amir. He is a match-winner. If you leave him out of the fray you potentially are sacrificing chances of winning the tournament,” former Pakistan coach Mickey Arthur had said.
When Pakistan announced an 18-player men’s central contract list for the 2020-’21 season, that came into effect from July, Hasan Ali, Mohammad Amir and Wahab Riaz were among the ones to be left out.
Younis defended the decision to call Amir to join the squad in England to replace Haris Rauf.
“We called Amir because he is part of our white-ball cricket plans. And if we felt this was the ideal opportunity to assess all our bowlers going forward. It is not about this series but also about future commitments including the World Cups coming up,” the former captain and star pacer added.
“We want to see how he is bowling as we want to get a fair idea of which bowlers to take forward and assess them all,” he added.
Pakistan will take on England in a Test and T20 series next month.
Younis admitted that he and head coach-cum-chief selector Misbah-ul-Haq were upset when Amir announced his sudden retirement from Test cricket last year as both felt he was required on the tour to Australia.
“We were not happy but bringing him back I think is a positive move. The young bowlers will learn from him. We are clear in our mind no bowler is indispensable for the team.
“But I think his presence will help in the competition among the pace bowlers in the training camp in England,” he added.
With a wide range of options to choose from, Younish said Pakistan is faced with a happy problem of plenty in fast bowling right now.
“I can tell you whenever there is healthy competition among bowlers to do well in any team it is a blessing in disguise for that team. I see that same culture developing in the Pakistan team now,” he said.
“It is a blessing for us that we have so many pace bowlers to pick from. But in the end we will give priority to those who are performing well,” he added.
Younis also rejected suggestions that it was difficult for a fast bowler to compete in all formats given the workload.
“I just look at this way if a bowler is fit, strong and loves taking wickets. He can play all the time. But I guess this is an individual decision,” he said.
(With PTI inputs)