Mohammad Amir enjoying the Pakistan vibes in the Desert Vipers camp

Sport360 staff 18:14 09/02/2024
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  • There is a distinct Pakistan flavour in the Desert Vipers camp in this year’s edition of the ILT20. With as many as four Pakistan players in their squad, it is no surprise that the Vipers have attracted plenty of eyeballs from fans in a country with a significant South Asian expat population.

    This was very much evident when three Desert Vipers stars showed up for a meet and greet with fans at Umbro’s flagship store in Dubai. Mohammad Amir turned out to be particularly popular as a sizable number of fans jostled for autographs and pictures with the players.

    The veteran Pakistan pacer has been the Vipers’ stacked bowling attack with aplomb this year and has already racked up 11 wickets in the campaign so far. Amir is no stranger to performing to a high standard in multiple T20 leagues around the globe, but he is especially enjoying the battle in the ILT20.

    “What I like about the ILT20 is the fact that you have nine international players in the playing XI. This is unique to any T20 league in the world. It ensures that the standard is set very high,” he said.

    “You have to constantly be on your toes in this league as a bowler because every batter is a seasoned international,” the Pakistan star continued.

    While he has enjoyed bamboozling some quality batters in the ILT20, Amir has also relished the pace partnership with fellow compatriot and left-arm pacer Shaheen Afridi. Watching the two southpaws bowl together in tandem after nearly four years has been a treat to many Pakistan fans.

    “I have enjoyed it,” Amir said of the brief partnership with Afridi before the latter’s early exit from the tournament.

    “I have always been a believer in bowling being a partnership. Shaheen is a superb bowler. With him, there is a good understanding.

    “When the pitch is playing a particular way, he will tell me exactly what it is doing. Whether it is swinging or if the ball is holding on the surface. And the same goes for me when it comes to passing information about the pitch to him.

    “It reduces the pressure on me too, when you know there is a quality pacer bowling from the other end.”

    Alongside Shaheen, the Vipers camp has also roped in Pakistan’s Shadab Khan and Azam Khan for this year’s edition. They are the first ILT20 franchise to contract players from Pakistan. Amir has loved every minute of his time with his compatriots.

    “These are players with whom I have played domestic and international cricket with,” he said.

    “It has been nearly four years since I have been on the same team as Shadab and Shaheen.

    “We have played for different teams in the Pakistan Super League in recent years, so to share the same dressing room is nice.

    “To be honest, the dressing room feels like being Pakistan at times,” the 31-year-old added.

    With significant Pakistan support behind them, the Desert Vipers and Amir will hope they can pull a rabbit out of their hats and clinch a play-off spot of the ILT20. At the time of writing, they currently sit in the fifth spot in the table with six points from 8 games. The top four teams in the competition progress to the play-offs.