By Adam Ellis
Pakistan bowling coach Azhar Mahmood has urged Mohammad Amir to show more consistency for the national side if he wants to become the leader of the attack.
A County Championship winner with Essex last season, Amir claimed figures of 1-45 off 15 overs as Pakistan began their tour of England with a drawn warm-up match against Kent.
Alluding to the paceman’s average of 37.25 in the 16 Tests he has played since returning from a five-year ban for his part in the Pakistan spot-fixing scandal, Mahmood gave a rallying cry to the 26-year-old.
“We want more from Amir, as a bowling coach I want more from Amir,” the former Surrey bowler told AFP.
“If you see his record since he came back it’s not great, but he was coming back after five years out. He needs to take a bit more responsibility and get more wickets for us.
“If he’s the leader of this attack, he needs to show us a bit more.
“I’m sure he will do that and that’s what we want from him,” Mahmood commented.
Amir showed his prodigious talents on the same tour he committed spot-fixing at the age of 18, becoming the youngest bowler to reach 50 Test wickets to draw comparisons with Pakistan legend Wasim Akram.
With his lengthy absence taking an inevitable toll, Amir has still shown many moments of brilliance to conjure flashbacks to his teens.
Kent assistant coach Allan Donald said Amir still possesses a killer instinct as a Test-class bowler after watching him at a rain-affected match in Canterbury.
“When I saw this kid a few years ago, he’s one of the most skillful that’s going around,” the South African said.
“When you saw him knocking over those poles that’s exactly what you expect from him — so much skill, so much imagination and creativity to produce that sort of thing on flat pitches.”
He added: “When it gets flat, you have to think out of the box and to see that happening was an eye-opener.”
Next up for Pakistan in their preparations for a two-Test series in England is a trip to the County Ground to play Northamptonshire, before they play Ireland as the nation’s first opponents since gaining full-Member status last year along with Afghanistan.
Northamptonshire v Pakistan (May 4-7)
Leicestershire v Pakistan (May 19-20)
England v Pakistan, Lord’s (May 24-28)
England v Pakistan, Headingley (June 1-5)
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