Amir has endured a miserable time in limited-overs cricket over the past two years or so with the pacer picking up just four wickets in 14 ODIs since the 2017 ICC Champions Trophy final against India.
That poor form led to Amir missing the cut for Pakistan’s 15-man preliminary World Cup squad although the pacer will get one more chance to force his way in. The 27-year-old has been included in the Pakistan squad for the upcoming five-match ODI series against hosts England and could still make a case for himself with the deadline for finalising the World Cup squad being May 23.
“We can’t discount Amir from the World Cup,” Wasim Akram was quoted as saying by AFP.
“Amir would have been my first choice for the World Cup considering English conditions where he performs well.
“I am confident that he will do well once his rhythm is back.”
Pakistan have included teenaged pacers Shaheen Afridi and Mohammad Hasnain in their 15-man preliminary squad but Wasim Akram feels that Amir’s experience is necessary for a big tournament such as the World Cup.
“I am all for youth but experience has no substitute, so we should mix youth with experience,” the legendary Pakistan pacer stated.
“He (Amir) is a good learner so I hope things will come good for him sooner than later because Pakistan team needs him,” he added.
Amir is currently in England with the Pakistan ODI squad which beat Northamptonshire by eight wickets in their second tour game on Monday. The Men in Green had earlier beaten Kent by 100 runs in their first warm-up game of the tour.
Pakistan will lock horns with Leicestershire on Wednesday in their final tour game before they take on England in a one-off T20I followed by a five-match ODI series.
The England and Nottinghamshire batsman had been recently suspended by the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) for an ‘off-field’ incident not related to cricket.
On Monday, Hales was withdrawn from the preliminary England World Cup squad as well as from the squads for the upcoming limited-overs clashes against Ireland and Pakistan.
“We have thought long and hard about this decision,” ECB Managing Director for Men’s cricket Ashley Giles said in a statement.
ECB Official Statement - Alex Hales.— England and Wales Cricket Board (@ECB_cricket) April 29, 2019
“We have worked hard to create the right environment around the England team and need to consider what is in the best interests of the team, to ensure they are free from any distractions and able to focus on being successful on the pitch.
“I want to make it clear this is not the end of Alex’s career as an England player. The ECB and the PCA (Professional Cricketer’s Association) will continue to aid Alex and work alongside his county club Nottinghamshire to give him the support he needs, to help him fulfil his potential as a professional cricketer.”
England will name a replacement for the batsman for the upcoming five-match ODI series against Pakistan in due course.
While the likes of hosts England, India and Australia are being seen as the frontrunners to win the World Cup by many, Hussain feels ‘mercurial’ Pakistan have the ability to surprise any opposition on their day.
“Many Pakistani fans will say they have followed their team for too long and had their hearts broken many times, but I love them, and I love their cricket,” the former England captain told PakPassion.net.
“I love them because they are mercurial Pakistan and you wonder which Pakistan will turn up on the day. The fact is that you cannot write off Pakistan for this World Cup.”
There is no dearth of young talent in the 15-man preliminary Pakistan World Cup squad which includes two teenage pacers in the form of Shaheen Afridi and Mohammad Hasnain.
While Afridi had a breakthrough year in international cricket in 2018, Hasnain impressed in the Pakistan Super League (PSL) before being handed his ODI debut against Australia recently.
Hussain is in awe of both the young pacers and is expecting them to make their marks in the World Cup.
“Pakistan always produces these players,” the 51-year-old said.
“And the moment they play it’s like, ‘Wow these lads have got something about them.’ This is what Pakistan do, they play them, they pick them, and they give them a chance. It doesn’t matter how old they are, it’s all about whether they are good enough.
“If you can clock 90mph as Mohammad Hasnain and Shaheen Shah Afridi can, then that is the sort of wicket-taking potential that will win this World Cup.”
Pakistan are currently in England where they are set to take on the hosts in a one-off T20I followed by a five-match ODI series. The Men in Green will take on Northamptonshire in their second tour game at Northampton on Monday. They had earlier beaten Kent by 100 runs in their first tour match.