119 wickets. Not even 40 Test matches. A brilliant bowling average of 30. And above everything- 4 fifers. Ever come across a tidy art piece that had in it to become a complete masterpiece? If an incomplete artwork could find a parallel in Test match cricket, then in Mohammad Amir’s journey, it would find some meaning or significance.
His was a blossoming Test career. It could be said, it was at a crucial stage where given the fairly young-make up of the Pakistani side, it was perhaps headed in only one direction, i.e., skywards, up north. In fact, he had resuscitated his own career after running into an unwanted controversy that took out six key years of his active playing life.
Yet, for some reason, Mohammad Amir decided to quit Test cricket exuding pure shock and awe for everyone concerned with him and his cricket journey.
That Pakistani Cricketers have the temperament to thrill was something we always knew. But that the experienced Mohammad Amir would suddenly take the road less beaten was something we perhaps didn’t expect. Or at least, not so hurriedly.
For any cricketer, least of all, a prime fast bowler, taking 200 Test wickets or playing 50 Tests at least, signifies climbing a precious hill. But for some reason, Mohammad Amir decided to hang up quickly, having only collected 119 wickets when his talent easily warranted at least, 300 of them.
Ever since news surrounding Mohammad Amir’s retirement struck the media, it’s fetched a barrage of responses, primarily from his compatriots.
While the irrepressible Ramiz Raja was uptight in sharing that he was ‘completely shocked’ by Mohammad Amir’s decision, the Sultan of Swing bowling, Wasim Akram was contained by a wave of disbelief.
Unable to come to terms with the left-arm pacer’s sudden decision, Akram made a lot of sense when he said that “fast bowlers tend to normally peak at 27-28.”
It ought to be said that Amir, only 27 at the moment, had at least half a decade of unabashed Test cricket left in him. That said, the one man who seemed somewhat distraught by the decision was fellow former fast bowler, Shoaib Akhtar.
On his day, the fast and furious Shoaib Akhtar left little to the imagination. A rhythm bowler, Shoaib would muster up a storm and give the best in the world peril nightmare of a time. And perhaps it’s exactly this expectation that the ‘Rawalpindi Express’ might have had of the young pacer which, in the wake of not coming true-Amir throwing in the towel way earlier than many would’ve liked- left him frustrated.
Here’s what the famous right-arm pacer, the fastest bowler on his day happened to share on Amir’s Test exit:
“If I were part of the Pakistan selection board, I would have not allowed these boys to play T20s. There are times when you should make money but this is the time when Pakistan needs you.
“I request the board to look into the matter. Amir is just 27 and his retirement shows us the mentality of the players. I think this is the time for Pakistan PM Imran Khan to look into the matter to bring dynamic and energetic people.
That said, perhaps none of the reactions that concern the suddenness of Amir’s departure from a format that’s regarded as the ultimate seem unjust because where recent form indicates then Amir was Pakistan’s most successful bowler in the 2019 World Cup, wherein he scalped 17 wickets.