Pakistan fast bowler Mohammad Amir has retired from Test cricket but on Tuesday showed he remains a potent force in red-ball cricket by guiding Essex to a tense three-wicket win in the county championship.
Playing against Kent, Amir took four wickets in the first innings as Kent made 226. But with the bat, Essex batsmen made a meal of their first innings, getting bowled out for just 114. It was Amir once again who made a contribution, top-scoring with 28.
With a deficit of over 100 runs, Essex were staring down the barrel. But then came the most incredible passage of play on Tuesday as the new-ball pair of Amir and Sam Cook decimated the Kent batting line-up. Fast bowler Cook snared seven wickets for just 23 runs from his nine overs – finishing with 12 wickets in the match – while Amir picked up 2-16 to bowl Kent out for just 40 in 18.1 overs.
A target of 153 proved to be tricky as Essex were reduced to 84-6 but they kept their cool to reach the target with three wickets in hand and Amir remaining unbeaten on 4.
Amir thus ended up with six wickets in the game, raising hopes of a change of heart regarding his Test retirement. The left-arm seamer had quit Test cricket after the World Cup in order to prolong his career but with tours to Australia and England lined up, there is hope that Amir will change his mind and lead Pakistan’s inexperienced seam attack.