Spotlight on pacer Aamir

Spotlight on pacer Aamir

Mohammed Aamir can't be missed in the Pakistani camp these days. The early image of this supremely gifted left-arm pacer included long hair and his trademark style of blowing kiss to the batsman he would dismiss. He was spoken about as the new pace sensation when he was just 17.

In 14 Tests, he had picked up 51 wickets and the likes of Wasim Akram and Imran Khan vouched for his talent. But then the spot fixing storm came and blew up Aamir’s career; his game was thought to be dead and buried as he was suspended for five years and even imprisoned for six months.

Pakistani fans spent five years in anticipation of Aamir's return, they knew he was their future. The news of his return, though, drew a wedge in the team. Pakistan's former Twenty20 captain Mohammad Hafeez and Azhar Ali refused to play alongside a cricketer who has brought disrepute the country and the game; his tainted past was still haunting the Pakistani players. PCB defused the crisis and paved the way for his return against New Zealand in the T20 series last month.

As he marked his run up at the nets here on Friday, he presented a picture of an unhurried man. His locks are missing, his teenage look has given way to a more matured and determined outline and a stronger physique. He mingled with his team-mates freely. It though remains a fact that he divided opinions both in Pakistani cricket and world cricket. In New Zealand he was scoffed at by a commentator on his return match; perhaps he has even got used to taunts.

In the two ODIs and one T20 match so far he has claimed five wickets  and was described as the best Pakistani bowlers by Martin Guptill during the tour. In the Pakistan Super League, he again delivered the goods by taking seven wickets in seven matches for Karachi Kings, including a hat-trick.

But Aamir knows he will have to prove himself again and again. And nothing like a match against India to win the hearts of his teammates and fans.

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