Pacer Mohammad Amir was the cynosure of all eyes as Pakistan took the field here at the Eden Gardens on Sunday for a World Twenty 20 training session.
Amir, who returned to cricket in January this year after serving a five-year ban for spot-fixing has already caused quite a stir in the international and domestic stage.
The 23-year-old picked up a hat-trick in the Pakistan Super League (PSL) in Dubai and then followed it up with impressive performances in the Asia Cup. Against India he bowled a fiery spell picking up Rohit Sharma and Ajinkya Rahane with two quick deliveries.
Since then he has been the talk of the town.
On Sunday morning, he eased into his run-up and bowled at the practice pitches. There was an area marked for him and the left-arm pacer more often than not hit it.
He later bowled with a full run-up and with a lot of pace in the nets to the likes of Shoaib Malik and Umar Akmal.
At a media meet during the day, Afridi hailed Amir as one of the the top international bowlers, and dismissed Indian batsman Rohit Sharma’s comment days back that there was nothing to “go gaga” over the Pakistan pacer.
“For me, Mohammad Amir is the best. The way he has been performing, like how he has performed in the past, his name is there among the top international bowlers,” Afridi said.
Fellow Pakistan pacer Wahab Riyaz also lavished praise on Amir.
“You have all seen what kind of bowler he is. He is a quality bowler. He is leading with the new ball. He is really sharp, gives extra edge to the Pakistan bowling attack.”
Riyaz also said Amir and he complimented each other. “He attacks, he takes the wickets. I can attack the batsmen if wickets are down, or else I play the role of a stock bowler”.
Earlier, the team arrived for practice around 9.30 a.m. Coach Waqar Younis and bowling coach Azhar Mahmood first inspected the pitch and had a word with local curator Sujan Mukherjee.
The Pakistan team had a warm-up session thereafter, followed by a net session.