Mohammad Amir almost close to a hat-trick in his return to domestic cricket on Friday, following a ban of four and a half years.
Amir had the opening batsman Naved Malik and then Ali Sarfraz caught off successive deliveries in his fourth over of a grade-two match, one level below first-class cricket. The fast bowler missed the hat-trick when he bowled down the leg side to the No4 batsman, Mohammad Irfan.
The 22-year-old still took three wickets in his first six-over spell at Rawalpindi Cricket Stadium, conceding 23 runs. However, his second spell was ineffective as the left-armer was smashed for 31 runs in three overs without success. In all, Amir took three for 73 off 16 overs.
“I always try to make batsmen play as much as possible,” he said. “I am trying to give 100%, but to be honest with you, it’s not easy after all these years. It’s like starting from zero.”
Amir was banned from all cricket after pleading guilty in 2010 to charges of bowling deliberate no-balls at prearranged times to fix spot betting markets, while playing for Pakistan in a Test match against England at Lord’s.
The International Cricket Council shortened his five-year ban in January for his cooperation with its anti-corruption and security unit.
Amir made a delayed return when his match last Tuesday was washed out. He’s playing for Omar Associates in the three-day Patron’s Trophy.
“Four and a half years ago I was at my peak, and I can’t get back those years,” Amir said. “But as a Muslim, I believe there’s always a lesson in life. I can’t rewind those years but I should avail what time I have ahead of me.”
He has at least two more three-day matches in the tournament, then plans to play in a domestic Twenty20 tournament next month. (Guardian)