Karachi: Pakistan all-rounder Yasir Arafat has heaped praise on Mohammad Amir, saying that the fast bowler is back to his best again, besides highlighting that his performance at the Champions Trophy was the key for his side's victory against arch-rivals India in the finals.
Arafat pointed out that Amir firstly put in some valuable batting performance with skipper Sarfraz Ahmed in that crucial game against Sri Lanka, before delivering hefty blows to the Indian batting line-up.
"Coming to the Champions Trophy, Mohammad Amir's contribution to Pakistan's victory was immense. He put in a valuable batting performance with Sarfaraz Ahmed in that crucial game against Sri Lanka and then when it came to the final, he delivered those hefty blows to the Indian batting line-up which contributed heavily to the Pakistan victory," PakPassion.net quoted Arafat as saying.
Amir rocked India's top-order with the wickets of Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli and Shikhar Dhawan to set up 180-run win and maiden Champions Trophy title for Pakistan.
The 35-year-old further backed Amir to continue to remain focused and perform in the same manner in the upcoming matches as well.
"To me, Amir is back to his best and has done a great job for his side during the Champions Trophy and I would like him to continue to be focused and perform in the same manner for the future as well," he said.
Arafat said that although there was a lot on pressure on Amir following his return from five-year spot-fixing ban, the 25-year-old was the same bowler for him as he used to be before the suspension.
"There was a lot of pressure on Amir to perform after his comeback to international cricket. It started with the tour of England in 2016 where he was very unlucky to have catches dropped off him and seemed to continue through the tours of New Zealand and Australia. In fact, it got to the point during the recent tour of the West Indies that there were rumors that Amir would give up Test cricket to concentrate on the shorter formats of the game," Arafat said.
"There was also relentless pressure from some quarters in the media on him to perform although people seemed to have forgotten how well he did in the 2016 Asia Cup. To me, Amir is the same bowler we always had but there is a period of five years which he lost where he obviously played no cricket and which he has to make up for," he added.
Amir, along with fast bowler Mohammad Asif and former skipper Salman Butt, were found guilty of various offences of corrupt behaviour relating to the Lord's Test between England and Pakistan in August 2010 by the independent Anti-Corruption Tribunal in February 2011.
Amir, however, made an impressive return to the international cricket last year by taking 12 wickets in four Tests during Pakistan's tour of England....