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Tainted Pakistani player Salman Butt has said that Mohammad Amir will make a successful comeback to the Test arena just like legendary boxer Muhammad Ali made after his suspension from boxing. Three-time heavyweight champion Muhammad Ali, who passed away last month, was suspended from boxing from 1967 until 1970 after refusing to join the US war in Vietnam.
Amir, who was found guilty of bowling deliberate no-balls for money, is set to make a return to Test cricket in England this summer and, should he be selected for the first Test at Lord’s which starts form July `14, his comeback game would be at the venue the infamous fixing incident took place.
Butt along with Amir and Mohammad Asif was banned from cricket for throwing deliberate no-balls during a Test match against England at Lord’s in 2010 – before being later jailed in Britain.
The young pacer’s ban ended in September last year and he made a return to international cricket when he was selected for Pakistan’s one-day and Twenty20 squads to face New Zealand. Since then he has remained an integral part of the team.
“He has bowled well in limited over matches and can deliver,” Butt said.
“Long layoffs can hurt in many ways, but it depends on individuals and if they show the same hunger and determination — like Ali did in his forced layoff — then one can succeed.”
At the same time, the former captain also expected Amir to receive a hostile welcome in England but said that things will become better once Amir performs well.
“People will move on once he does well and doesn’t react.”
Since his return, Amir has represented Pakistan in two one-day and 11 Twenty20 internationals, and has been really impressive.
“There are no doubts that he can be Pakistan’s key bowler against England across formats, just like on the tour of 2010,” said Butt.
The last time the pacer was in England in 2010, he was Pakistan’s Player of the Series after taking 19 wickets at an average of 18.36. However, the brilliant performance was overshadowed by a match-fixing scandal.
Talking about himself, the left-handed batsman, who scored 536 runs in the national one-day cup this year, said that he is trying his best to perform in order to make a comeback to the international cricket.
“I am working hard and trying to perform in any type of cricket I play because that is the only road to get back into the team,” he said.