LAHORE: Leading Pakistani fast-bowler Mohammad Amir on Friday announced his retirement from Test cricket, but said he would continue to play ODIs and T20s for his country.
The 27-year-old, regarded as one of the best left-arm pacers after countryman Wasim Akram, said he wants to move away from the traditional format, nine years after a spot-fixing ban halted his burgeoning career.
“It has been an honour to represent Pakistan in the pinnacle and traditional format of the game. I, however, have decided to move away from the longer version so I can concentrate on white ball cricket,” Amir said in a statement.
“Playing for Pakistan remains my ultimate desire and objective, and I will try my best to be in the best physical shape to contribute in the team’s upcoming challenges, including next year’s ICC T20 World Cup.”
Amir, who took 119 wickets in his 36-match Test career, said the thought had been on his mind for a while.
“It has not been an easy decision to make and I have been thinking about this for some time. But with the ICC World Test Championship commencing shortly, and Pakistan boasting some very exciting young fast bowlers, it is appropriate that I call on my time in Test cricket so that the selectors can plan accordingly,” he said.
“I want to thank all my team-mates as well the opponents in red ball cricket. It has been a privilege to play with and against them. I am sure our paths will continue to cross in limited-overs cricket as all of us play and compete with the same vigour and determination.
“I also want to thank the PCB for providing me the opportunity to don the golden star on my chest. And, I am grateful to my coaches who have groomed me at various stages of my career,” he added.
📰 @iamamirofficial announces retirement from Test cricket.
— Pakistan Cricket (@TheRealPCB) July 26, 2019
Amir is currently in England where he is signed to play for Essex in the English season.
The bowler made an impressive entry into international cricket as a 17-year-old, taking six wickets in his debut Test against Sri Lanka at Galle in 2009. The following year, he was instrumental on a tour in England, helping Pakistan to level a two-match neutral-venue series against Australia with seven wickets in the Leeds Test.
He took 20 wickets in four Tests against England but it culminated in a shocking spot-fixing saga unearthed by the now-defunct tabloid News of the World.
Amir, along with then Test captain Salman Butt and new-ball partner Mohammad Asif, was charged for illegally taking money in return for delivering deliberate no-balls in the Lord’s Test. All three were banned for a minimum of five years and were also jailed by a UK court.
The fast-bowler returned to play for Pakistan again in 2016 but the other two failed in their bids to resume their international careers.
“Amir has been one of the most exciting and talented left-arm fast bowlers in Test cricket in recent times. He overcame adversity as a young cricketer and came back stronger not only as a cricketer but also as a better human being. His skill, on the field, and his personality will be missed in the dressing room in the longer format,” said PCB Managing Director Wasim Khan in a statement.
“However, we respect his decision and look forward to him continuing to play an integral role in white ball cricket for Pakistan.”
Amir made his Test debut against Sri Lanka in Galle in July 2009, he featured in 36 Tests, taking 119 wickets at an average of 30.47. His best bowling returns – six for 44 – were against the West Indies in Kingston in April 2017.