Mohammad Amir (Urdu: محمد عامر, born 13 April 1992) is a Pakistaniinternational cricketer. He is a left-arm fast bowler, who opens the bowling in all formats of cricket and bowls regularly at 140–145 kph. He made his first-class debut in 2007, and his first One-Day Internationaland Test appearance in 2009 in Sri Lanka, at the age of 17. He played his first international match during the 2009 ICC World Twenty20, where he played in every game, helping the national side win the tournament. Amir was touted as having the potential to be a leading fast bowler by former Pakistani left arm fast bowler Wasim Akram who picked him out as a prospect in 2007. Since Amir’s establishment in the international arena, former Pakistani batsman Rameez Raja, as well as Akram himself, have stated that “He is much cleverer than [Akram] at 18”.
On 29 August 2010, he was arrested for spot-fixing and was given a five-year ban for allegedly bowling two deliberate no-balls, Amir pleaded guilty on the verdict handed out by his prosecutor the International Cricket Council, and publicly asked for forgiveness. In November 2011, Amir was convicted, along with Salman Butt and Mohammad Asif, of conspiracy charges relating to spot-fixing. He was given a five year ban which was considered lenient, due to his juvenile age and confession, as compared to the other two conspirators who were given 7 and 10 years’ suspensions, effectively ending their careers.
On 29 January 2015, it was announced that Amir would be allowed an early return to domestic cricket despite his original ban being due to expire on 2 September 2015. Mohammad Amir signed with Chittagong Vikings to play the BPLT20-2015. He has since returned to play for Pakistan on their tour of New Zealand in 2016.
He has a dubious distinction of playing the most number of test matches before taking his first catch. On 31 October 2016, in his 20th test match, he had taken a spectacular catch to dismiss Darren Bravo. He also holds the distinction of being the only player to have bowled in a five wicket (1 caught, 2 bowled, 2 run-outs) maiden over in T20 cricket, doing so against Australia in 2010. This was the only time in cricketing history that 5 wickets had fallen in an over of any international format and that happened in the final over of a T20 World Cup clash. It was considered as the team effort with a catch, bowled and two runouts.
Mohammad Amir was born in Thathal Rajput family in 1992 in the remote village of Changa Bangial, Gujar Khan, Pothohar Pakistan He was the second youngest of seven children. “Wasim Akram is my favourite, he’s my idol. When I used to watch him on TV, I would try to see what exactly he was doing with the ball. Then I would go outside and imitate his actions and bowling.”
In 2003, at the age of 11, Amir was spotted at a local tournament and invited to join the sports academy set up by the Bajwa in Rawalpindi.
After joining the national team, Amir moved to Lahore with his family to be closer to top-flight cricket facilities. Amir married British citizen Narjis Khan in Sep 2016.
Amir was first selected as a fast bowler by the former Pakistani fast bowler Wasim Akram at a fast bowling camp in 2007. Amir, then 15 years old, went on a tour of England with the Pakistan U-19 cricket team and was one of the leading bowlers. He took 8 wickets at an average of 16.37. In 2008, he took 4 wickets in successive matches against Sri Lanka and England. In this tri-nation tournament played in Sri Lanka he again excelled with his speed and swing bowling taking 9 wickets at average of 11.22 in three matches. Due to injury he played only a limited part in the 2008 ICC Under-19 Cricket World Cup held in Malaysia. In March 2008, he made his domestic debut for the Rawalpindi Rams whilst concurrently representing the National Bank of Pakistan. His debut domestic season resulted in him taking 55 first-class wickets for NBP. He took a lot of top order wickets including those of players in the national side. This strong domestic form resulted in him making his international breakthrough in the 2009 Twenty20 World Cup.
Amir made his international debut against England in the group stages of the 2009 ICC World Twenty20. He took the wicket of Ravi Bopara with only his second ball, with Shoaib Malik taking a fine catch, and conceded only one run in his debut international over. Amir made his One Day International match debut against Sri Lanka taking 3 wickets at an economy rate of 4.50 and also scoring 23 runs.
After his successful 2009 T20 World Cup tournament, Amir was selected in the test squad for Pakistan for the series in Sri Lanka. He was chosen alongside fast bowler Umar Gul and Abdur Rauf, ahead of more notable and experienced names such as Sohail Tanvir. He started his Test career well, taking six wickets in the match, which included the wicket of Sri Lankan captain Kumar Sangakkara in both innings, as well as the Sri Lankan batsman, Mahela Jayawardene’s wicket in the 2nd innings. However he did not get any wickets in his next two Test matches. His next test wickets came in New Zealand where he managed to take four wickets in the first Test match, during a losing game. He won his first Test match with the Pakistan team during his 5th Test match, as Pakistan won comprehensively by 141 runs, he managed to take three wickets in the match including the wicket of Ross Taylor, who scored 97 runs in the second innings. He shone brightly with the bat as well and showed a solid technique for a lower order batsman.
World Twenty20 championships
Amir continued to impress as the 2009 ICC World Twenty20 tournament continued, taking a wicket in his opening spell in 6 of the 7 games he played, including the final. He was particularly effective at using the short ball, with his skiddy bouncers rushing onto the batsmen, often causing them to mishit the ball for a catch. Amir consistently clocked speeds of above 145 kilometres per hour (90 miles per hour) and bowled his quickest delivery in the 2009 ICC World Twenty20 final against Sri Lanka, at 152 kilometres per hour (94.4 miles per hour). His most important moment arguably came in the opening over of the 2009 Twenty20 World Cup final against Sri Lanka. He bowled with speed and with consecutive short deliveries to the tournament’s top scorer Tillakaratne Dilshan obtained his wicket on the fifth delivery and managed to end the over with a wicket maiden.
In the initial stages of the 2010 World Cup Amir took three wickets in a five wicket-maiden over in a Twenty20 International match against Australia. The other two men were run out in the same over. This set a world record of three wickets for a bowler in Twenty20 and 5 wickets for a team in one over.
Pakistan Cricket Board contract
Amir was ignored by Pakistan Cricket Board when they awarded cricket contracts to Abdul Razzaq and Mohammad Yousuf, even after his exceptional performance in the 2009 ICC World Twenty20. Later on the Pakistan Cricket Board awarded Amir a ‘C’ category contract.
Making mark in international arena
On 9 November 2009 he scored 73 runs against New Zealand which was a record for a number 10 batsman in ODI history until Ravi Rampaul surpassed that record with scoring 86* when batting at number 10 position in 2011. In that innings, with his batting partner Saeed Ajmal, Amir added 103 runs to Pakistan’s chase, only to fall short by 7 runs.
He impressed the Pakistan cricket team, including Wasim Akram, who took credit for discovering Amir, although Akram later commented that Amir needed to gain more weight to aid his development.
Later in 2009, Pakistan toured Sri Lanka and in the first One Day International match, he shared a 62 run partnership with fast bowler Umar Gul for the tenth wicket but Pakistan lost by 36 runs. He also played a game against New Zealand in 2009–2010. During a match in the third One Day International match, when Pakistan were reduced to 8 wickets for 86 runs, he scored 73 runs not out, making the highest score by a number 10 batsman in One Day International cricket and putting on a 103 runs, 10th wicket partnership with Saeed Ajmal. He was unable to get his side to their victory target of 212 runs, as Ajmal was declare out in the last over and Pakistan lost by just 7 runs.
During the Test match series against Australia in 2010, at the Melbourne Cricket Ground, he took his first five wicket haul, taking the wickets of Australian batsmen Ricky Ponting, Michael Hussey and Michael Clarke. On 24 July 2010 he was influential in helping Pakistan win the 2nd Test match against Australia; the first Test match Pakistan had won against them in 15 years, which also drew the series 1–1. During this match he took 7 wickets overall, and was declared man of the match. Overall, in the second series, he was the leading wicket taker of both teams with his 11 scalps.
In the summer of 2010, Amir was awarded the man of the match award for becoming the youngest player to ever take a five-wicket haul in England. He also became the youngest player to take 50 test wickets earning praise from several former international cricketers. In that eventful series against England, he took 19 wickets, the highest of the Pakistanis and third highest overall at an outstanding average of 18.3. He also took 2 five-wicket hauls.
After five years, on 13 March 2015, Amir made his domestic comeback playing for Omar Associates in the grade II patron’s trophy. He took a wicket in his first comeback over.
On 19 August 2015, Mohammad Amir was declared completely free to play all forms of cricket from September 2, 2015. On 15 January 2016, he made his return to international cricket in a T20I match against New Zealand. In February 2016, Amir took a hat-trick in a Pakistan Super League match for Karachi Kings.He also participated to the first T20I edition of Asia Cup in 2016 and also for the 2016 ICC World Twenty20. He later made his international comeback against England, where he was taunted by English fans chanting “No Ball!” at him.
On August 30, 2016, against England at Nottingham Amir scored 58 after coming at no.11 and became the first cricketer to score a half century in ODIs after coming last in the batting order. He was dropped for the next match against England two days later.
He along with Sarfraz Ahmed set the record for the highest 8th wicket partnership in ICC Champions Trophy history(75*)
2017 ICC Champions Trophy
Amir played his second ICC ODI tournament in 2017 ICC Champions Trophy. During the first two games against arch rivals India and South Africa, Amir failed to pick up wickets but was economical with the figures of 0/32 (8.1) and 0/50 (10) respectively. It was Sri Lanka game where he picked up his first wickets. He picked important wickets of Angelo Mathews and Niroshan Dickwella and ended with figures of 2/53 (10). But his important contribution came from bat where he scored 28 from 63. Chasing Sri Lanka’s target of 237, Pakistan were struggling at 162/7 before he arrived and, along with skipper Sarfraz Ahmed, shared an unbeaten stand of 75 to guide his team to their fourth semi final of their Champions Trophy.
Amir missed the semi final against England due to back spasms. But his absences was barely noticeable as his replacement, Rumman Raees bowled well on debut with 2/44. Pakistan won that match by 8 wickets.
Amir was pivotal for helping Pakistan win 2017 ICC Champions Trophy by claiming top three wickets against arch-rivals India in the Final. Amir entered his second ICC final. It was against India, who were in comfortable position. After Pakistan posted a challenging total of 338, it was Indian batsmen that needed to be taken care of. Their top three batsmen, Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan and Virat Kohli scored 70% of India’s run in the tournament. Amir took them all out. He trapped Sharma on front for LBW where he was given a three ball golden duck. Then he took the Indian skipper for 5. Kohli, at first, was dropped by Azhar Ali at first slip. But it took just one ball to get Kohli’s outside edge, where he was caught at point by Shadab Khan. Amir got his third after he bowled cross seamer to Dhawan for 21. Amir finished with the figures of 3/16 (6). It was Amir’s dream spell as his side bowled out the defending champions for 158, winning by 180 runs.
Amir has rated Indian cricketer Virat Kohli as the best batsman in the world. Kohli also rated Amir as one of the ‘toughest’ bowlers to face in the world cricket. Amir’s brother said that this was what he wanted to do. After that spot fixing scandal at same city, he wanted to make up for his wrong doings and the spell in the final was something that brought his family to relief.
Spot fixing allegations
Main article: Pakistan cricket spot-fixing controversy
In August 2010, the English newspaper News of the World published allegations that Amir and fellow bowler Mohammad Asif deliberately bowled no-balls during Pakistan’s 2010 tour of England in return for payment from a betting syndicate.
The News of the World alleged that an agent affiliated with some of the Pakistani players, later identified as Mazhar Majeed, had accepted a £150,000 (US$232,665) bribe from undercover reporter Mazher Mahmood for information that Amir and Asif would deliberately deliver no-balls at specific points during the match, information which could be used by gamblers to make wagers with inside information (a process known as spot-fixing, compared with match fixing to predetermine a match result).
In the video posted by News of the World, Majeed, counting out the bribe money, promised that Amir would be Pakistan’s bowler for the first over, and that the third ball of the over would be a no-ball delivery. Amir did bowl the first over, and on his third delivery from the over, bowled a no-ball delivery. Commentary described the delivery as a “massive overstep”, a good half-metre beyond the popping crease. Majeed also predicted that the sixth delivery of the tenth over would be a no-ball, and the ball, delivered by Asif, was also a no-ball delivery.
As a result of the allegations and video posted by News of the World, Scotland Yard announced during the evening that they had arrested Majeed on charges of suspicion of conspiracy to defraud bookmakers.
The allegations also affected the Mohammad Amir brand as the official Pakistani kit supplier BoomBoom Cricket announced that they had temporarily suspended their ties with Amir until further details on the allegations had emerged. BoomBoom stated that they will “make a complete decision once his [Amir] fate had been decided by the authorities”
The Pakistani selector Yawar Saeed announced that Amir and the two other accused Salman Butt and Mohammad Asif had withdrawn from the Pakistani tour of England due to the mental torture suffered by the allegations. Amir also continued to protest his innocence in the allegations.
Suspension, tribunal and ban
On 2 September 2010, after the warm-up List A game between Pakistan and Somerset, the International Cricket Council announced that they had suspended Amir under the provisions of the ICC’s Anti-Corruption Code. The statement from the ICC stated that the three players (Asif, Amir and Salman Butt) were charged “under various offences under Article 2 of the ICC Anti-Corruption Code for Players and Player Support Personnel relating to alleged irregular behaviour during, and in relation to, the fourth Test between England and Pakistan at Lord’s last month”.
Amir has got the sympathy of several ex-cricketers, including that of former England captain Michael Atherton. In an article for the News of the World, Atherton asserted that Amir is an asset to the game and must not be given a harsh punishment, considering his immense talent and young age. Atherton, now a journalist and broadcaster, recalled how Nasser Hussain, also an ex-England skipper, had summed up the mood at Lord’s the previous Sunday:
“Nasser Hussain, who I once saw walking around the team hotel in Sri Lanka in the early hours of the morning before a Test match unable to sleep, so worried was he about his form, spoke for us all when he said, ‘Please don’t let it be the kid’.”
Atherton added: “The ‘kid’ in question was Mohammad Aamer, the young, good-looking and prodigiously-talented Pakistan bowler who had blown England away on the second morning at Lord’s with a mesmeric spell of left-arm bowling and who now, we had been told, had overstepped the front line twice for a few dollars more.”
Former South Africa bowler Henry Williams has called for Mohammad Aamer to be treated with compassion if found guilty of spot fixing.
The ICC announced that Amir, Mohammad Asif and Salman Butt had filed appeals to their ICC. suspensions and set their hearing on 30 and 31 October 2010 in Qatar. The Pakistan Interior Ministry also gave the three players their passports back so that they could travel to the hearing being held in Qatar
The Pakistan Cricket Board barred Mohammad Amir, Mohammad Asif and Salman Butt from using the National Cricket Academy in Gaddafi Stadium. They have been barred until their names have been cleared of Spot-fixing The board said that Butt had used the facilities before the notices were sent and Asif and Amir haven’t used them.
Amir and Butt’s appeals were heard by the ICC on 30 and 31 October 2010. They were however rejected and the players remain provisionally suspended. The case does not decide whether Amir is guilty but only if his suspension should be lifted. Both Butt and Amir hit out at the ICC stating they hadn’t been given any evidence as to why their suspensions were rejected. Because the players couldn’t participate in international cricket all three had their contracts also provisionally suspended by the Pakistan Cricket BoardMohammad Amir stated that he was desperate to return to international cricket. He stated that he had been keeping his fitnes levels high and that he had been participating in club cricket.
Reports also emerged by Geo News that stated that Scotland Yard might call Amir, Mohammad Asif and Salman Butt back into the UK to complete the spot-fixing investigation Amir’s team-mate Butt who was also implicated in the Spot-fixing scandal announced that he wanted a delay in his hearing because he wanted the Scotland Yard investigation to be completed first. However Amir and Asif announced they were to go ahead with their trials as planned because they wanted a decision to be reached quickly so that they could be selected for the World Cup squad.
Amir, Butt, and Asif had a tribunal in front of a three-man panel of members of the ICC from 6–11 January 2011. Amir’s lawyers requested that the tribunal not announce its findings at the conclusion of the tribunal, wanting the tribunal to have the time necessary to fully review the evidence. The tribunal announced at its conclusion that they would announce their findings and any possible restrictions about a month later (the fifth of February 2011). The tribunal did announce that while additional charges against Salman Butt were filed over statements Majeed had made about the Third Test, that Amir and Asif would not face any charges over that test.
On 5 February 2011, the ICC tribunal handed Amir a five-year ban, his teammate Mohammad Asif was handed a seven-year ban and Salman Butt was given a 10-year ban from participating in any cricketing related activities which are governed by the ICC or any of its members. Shortly after the decision Amir announced his intent to appeal the decision to the Court of Arbitration Amir also stated that he hoped to return to International Cricket soon, stating he had “received confidence and support from Pakistani fans supporting him outside the Qatar Financial Centre”. Some former players around the world such as Michael Vaughan, Andrew Flintoff & Ian Healy called for Amir to be banned for life. On 15 September 2011 Amir has reportedly admitted to his involvement in last year’s spot-fixing scandal before a court in England.
Breach of ban
On 4 June 2011, Amir played an innings of cricket for Addington 1743 Cricket Club in a Surrey Cricket League match against St Luke’s Cricket Club in breach of Article 6.5 of the ICC Anti-Corruption Code. Amir stated that he made enquiries in respect of the status of the match, and was informed that it was a friendly match and playing would not be in contravention of his ban. Addington 1743 claimed that they had asked whether or not Amir could play for them, and were told that he could. As of 10 June 2011, the ICC are investigating the incident.
On 1 November 2011,Salman Butt and Mohammad Asif were convicted at Southwark Crown Court, along with Amir who had previously pleaded guilty, of conspiracy to cheat at gambling and conspiracy to accept corrupt payments. He was sentenced to 6 months in Feltham Young Offenders Institution on 3 November, whilst Butt and Asif were sentenced to 30 months and 12 months in prison respectively. Mazhar Majeed was sentenced to two years and eight months. Amir, along with Butt, appealed against the length of their sentences, however this was dismissed by Lord Judge, the Lord Chief Justiceon 23 November. Amir was later transferred to Portland Young Offenders Institute in Dorset, from which he was released on 1 February 2012, having served half of his six-month sentence.