Pakistan bowling Coach Azhar Mahmood said that Mohammad Aamir is fit for the 2017 Champions Trophy 2017 finals to be held at Kennington Oval, London on 18th June against arch-rivals India. The left handed fast bowler Aamir was ruled out of the Semi-finals against England due to an injury.
In the virtual quarter finals against Sri Lanka at Cardiff on 12th June, he took 2/53 and also contributed 28 valuable runs to help Pakistan reach the semi-finals. At one stage Pakistan were 162 for 7 but Sarfarz Ahmed and Aamir put on unbeaten 75 runs for the 8th wicket.
Azhar Mahmood, Pakistan’s bowling coach, said Amir was fit but did not comment on whether the bowler would play the final. “Amir bowled today. Amir is fit,” Mahmood said on Friday. “We have not decided about (playing him).”
In the first two matches against South Africa and India, Aamir was not able to take a wicket but performed well to restrict the Sri Lankan batting line up to 236.
Mohammad Aamir was replaced by debutant Raees in the semi-finals against the hosts England. He bowled well with new ball and took wicket of Alex Hales. He took 2/44 and restricted them to just 211. Pakistan chased down the target with ease winning the match by 8 wickets to book the maiden Champions Trophy finals.
“When you go to a final, you want your experienced player, you want him to be fully fit and participating on that particular day,” Mahmood said. But (we have told him) if he has any doubt he should let us know. At the moment he bowled today. He is fine. Yeah, definitely you would go with Amir, but we don’t mind if Amir can’t play. If he is not fit, then we have to move on.”
The biggest strength of the Pakistani team in this tournament has been their fast bowling especially Hasan Ali the leading wicket taker, Junaid Khan and Raees. They are able to pick wickets in the middle overs and put pressure on the opposition batting line up.
“We have the bench strength,” Mahmood said. “Last match, when Amir was not there, people were worried about our main strike bowler not playing. But the way Rumman Raees came in and bowled, it showed we have the bench strength. We have guys who have such skill and such an ability that they can perform on any stage. It is just a matter of self belief and confidence. I think anyone can replace anyone.”
After their loss to India in the first match, Pakistan won matches against Sri Lanka and South Africa to progress into the semi-finals. They continued their great form against strong favourites of the tournament England. It promises to be a cracking contest as both of them will meet in a ICC tournament finals after a gap of 10 years.