New Zealand right-hand opener Martin Guptill believes Mohammad Amir posed the biggest threat to his team in the third ODI with his opening spell in a match which Pakistan lost by three wickets.
“Amir didn’t give us too many bad balls,” Guptill said of that first spell. “He got the ball swinging, which he hasn’t done all series. It was a bit tougher today, and he bowled very well.”
Guptill added that Amir was living up to his legend. “He was definitely the pick of the Pakistani bowlers. He’s proving what a world-class bowler he still is.”
Meanwhile, Pakistan head coach Waqar Younis said the world will soon witness premium Muhammad Amir performances as he is taking positive steps forward to gain prime form.
“I still feel Amir’s not at his best at the moment,” said Waqar. “I always knew that it’s going to take some time. But he’s getting there. He’s started swinging the ball back into the right-handers, which I think is key for left-arm fast bowlers. And he’s getting his pace back.”
Amir’s first spell at Eden Park returned figures of 1 for 15 in the first five Powerplay overs, while New Zealand scored 37 runs in the other five overs without losing any wicket to the bowlers from the other end.
Amir’s comeback to the international arena after serving a five-year spot-fixing ban has not been an easy one. Azhar Ali and Muhammad Hafeez threatened to boycott the training camp for the New Zealand tour if he was included in the squad, but later on, Azhar said both players ‘moved on’ from their differences.
Moreover, Hafeez came to his rescue when a spectator waved dollar bills at him during the tour. Also, a ground announcer played a cash-register sound during an Amir spell for which New Zealand Cricket reprimanded him.
“There’s still a lot of pressure for Amir, playing international cricket,” said Waqar. “We’re trying to ease him into it – not expecting blasts from him. As long as he gets to his peak, when the time is right, hopefully he’ll deliver the goods for Pakistan.”
Waqar Younis and Martin Guptill were quoted by ESPNcricinfo.