Mohammad Amir fitness woes add to Pakistan's headache in Dubai Test

Ajit Vijaykumar 23:41 06/10/2017
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Mohammad Amir went off the field right before stumps in Dubai.

Pakistan didn’t start well on the opening day for the must-win second Test in Dubai. Not only did Sri Lanka finish on 254-3 with an unbeaten century from Dimuth Karunaratne, Pakistan also had to contend with an injury to pace spearhead Mohammad Amir right before stumps.

Amir walked off the ground in the 88th over after pulling out of his run-up due to apparent discomfort in his leg. Pakistan bowling coach Azhar Mahmood said the team is keeping Amir under observation for a possible shin injury.

“He is still under observation. Hopefully nothing serious. Because the pitch was really hard, Amir is feeling some pain in his left shin,” Mahmood said after stumps on Friday.

Amir was one of the two wicket-takers in Dubai but his length sometimes allowed batsmen to work him around on a flat pitch. Mahmood admitted the left-arm quick could have bowled a fuller length as that is his strength.

“Unfortunately, when you play a lot of limited overs matches, your length is shorter. If you see guys who play just Tests, like Vernon Philander, their length is fuller. But those who play all three formats, their length is shorter.

“I want him (Amir), especially with the new ball, to bowl fuller. When he bowls full, he is more threatening than any bowler in our side. With the new ball, he was superb. He wasn’t lucky enough to get more wickets.”

Another headache for Pakistan is the workload of leg-spinner Yasir Shah. He barely passed the fitness Test for the series and ended up bowling 84 overs during the Abu Dhabi defeat and sent 29 overs in the first innings in Dubai. With no other frontline spinner to help him and Amir’s fitness also suspect, it’s not looking good for Pakistan. Mahmood said Yasir and the team management are making the best out of the situation.

“Yasir in subcontinent conditions is our workhorse. So he has to bowl more overs when we are playing with three seamers. He plays only Test matches and after this game he has a long break, so that’s fine.

“He likes to bowl and he is used to bowling 30-35 overs an innings. However, in the last Test and this match, he has bowled quite a lot of overs,” the former all-rounder added.

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