Sultan of swing Wasim Akram has said that he expects Amir to receive a hostile reception in England but at the same time backed the tainted pacer to lead Pakistan’s bowling attack in the upcoming four-Test series in England.
Amir is set to make his Test comeback at the venue where his bowling of deliberate no-balls in 2010 earned him a five-year ban after he pleaded guilty to spot-fixing. After his ban ended last year in September, he has only featured in the game’s shorter formats since returning to international action in January, but is in contention for a Test return.
Wasim Akram advised the pacer to ignore the taunts and enjoy the game.
“It won’t be easy for him,” the 50-year-old told AFP on Monday.
“My advice to him will be to enjoy the game, he has got pace and skill.”
Backing Amir to lead the pack, Akram said that leg-spinner Yasir Shah can be the trump card for Pakistan.
“Amir can be the leader of the pack which also has a quality leg-spinner Yasir. I think if Shah is fit he can be the trump card in a varied bowling attack,” said Akram.
Akram said that considering England’s current form they will be tough to beat. The legendary pacer said that the only way to beat them is to outplay them in every department.
He said: “England have shown remarkable confidence in the last 18 months, beating South Africa in South Africa, qualifying for the final of the World Twenty20 and winning against Sri Lanka, so they will be tough to beat.
“For me, the only way is to do ‘tit for tat’ in all departments of the game if you want to beat them.”
Akram also said that the tour will be very challenging for the Pakistani batsmen.
“It will be a tough ask for Pakistan batsmen,” said Wasim. “I don’t buy the opinion that July and August will be dry so the pitches will be easier, no, there will be difficulties for batsmen as the Duke ball swings more and the edges carry to the slips.”
Akram is not the first cricketer to back Amir. His spot-fixing accomplice Salman Butt and Pakistan captain, Misbah-ul-Haq, have also backed Amir to perform well in the series. In fact, Misbah-ul-Haq has backed Amir to become the best bowler in the world.