Jake to make England debut
London—Pakistan first Test against England beginning on Thursday (July 14) at Lord’s will see the long-awaited return of pacer Mohammad Amir to the venue and to the game.
Amir was banned in 2010 along with Mohammad Asif and Salman Butt for the infamous spot-fixing scandal. Amir made his domestic comeback playing for Omar Associates in the Grade II Patron’s Trophy on March 13, 2015. He took a wicket in his first comeback over.
On August 19, 2015, Amir was declared completely free to play all forms of cricket from September 2, 2015.
He made his return to international cricket on January 15 this year, in a Twenty20 match against New Zealand. In February 2016, Amir took a hat-trick in a Pakistan Super League match for Karachi Kings.
As Amir is all set to make a return to Test cricket on the same venue after a gap of six years, many cricketers believe that the pacer would make a strong impact in the game.
Former Twenty skipper Shahid Afridi said the media was “putting undue pressure” on Amir. He urged Amir to stay strong in the series in England.
“I am hopeful that Amir will fulfill the expectations of everyone and will perform with all his might in the series against England,” he said while talking to a private news channel.
Test captain Misbah-ul-Haq said if you look at Amir’s bowling speed, swing and control it is there. “I think he can still be the best bowler in the world,” he said.
“He knows he is under pressure but he is handling that very well. It is a good opportunity for him to come here, where he had those problems, and show the world he can perform and deliver for the team and win back all his fans. That’s what he is working hard for,” he said.
Former pacer Shoaib Akhtar had advised Amir to remain humble on the England tour and perform with all his might on the field.
“The best way for Amir to counter is to perform on the field which I am sure he can do. But he also has to remain humble and not show attitude. He has to blend in with his teammates and win matches for them,” he said.
Pacer Wahab Riaz said as a team, as a squad of 17 plus our team management, all of us are going to support Amir. “We are all behind him, we are all supporting him, whenever he needs us, however he needs us, we will be around him all the time,” he said. Fast bowler Jake Ball is set to make his England debut against Pakistan at Lord’s on Thursday after captain Alastair Cook confirmed his place in the side a day before the start of the first Test. Ball was in the squad for all three Tests without playing during England’s preceding 2-0 series win (with one draw). But Ball has now been included after James Anderson, England’s all-time leading wicket-taker, was ruled out of the first of this four-Test series with a shoulder injury. “Jake will make his debut,” Cook told reporters at Lord’s on Wednesday. “Unfortunately Jimmy has missed out but it’s a great opportunity for Jake,” the opening batsman added. The 25-year-old Ball has edged out fellow uncapped seamer Toby Roland-Jones, who was hoping to make his Test debut on his Middlesex home ground, from an original 12-man squad. Ball came into England contention after a breakthrough 2015 season which saw him take 67 wickets across all formats for Nottinghamshire.
He followed that up with a dramatic start to the current English campaign, which has so far seen Ball take 37 first-class wickets at an average of just 22. England: Alastair Cook (capt), Alex Hales, Joe Root, James Vince, Gary Ballance, Jonny Bairstow (wkt), Moeen Ali, Chris Woakes, Stuart Broad, Steven Finn, Jake Ball. Pakistan: Mohammad Hafeez, Shan Masood, Azhar Ali, Younis Khan, Misbah-ul-Haq (capt), Asad Shafiq, Sarfraz Ahmed (wkt), Wahab Riaz, Mohammad Amir, Sohail Khan, Yasir Shah. Umpires: Kumar Dharmasena (SRI), Joel Wilson (WIS). TV umpire: Rod Tucker (AUS). Match referee: Richie Richardson (WIS) —AFP