India v Pakistan, Champions Trophy final, The Oval June 16, 2017

Mohammad Amir set to return for final


A back spasm had ruled Mohammad Amir out of the semi-final against England © Getty Images

Pakistan fast bowler Mohammad Amir has been ruled fit for selection for the Champions Trophy final against India, coach Mickey Arthur confirmed on Saturday. A back spasm had ruled Amir out of the semi-final against England on June 14, after he failed a fitness test shortly before the toss.

Azhar Mahmood, Pakistan's bowling coach, had said on Friday that Amir was available for selection, after the fast bowler competed a training session. "Amir bowled today. Amir is fit," Mahmood had said.

Amir's availability leaves Pakistan with a conundrum, albeit a happy one. Despite bowling well, he was wicketless in the first two league matches, against India and South Africa. Amir had success against Sri Lanka, taking 2 for 53 and scoring a valuable 28 not out in an eighth-wicket partnership that sealed a semi-final place for Pakistan.

"When you go to a final, you want your experienced player, you want him to be fully fit and participating on that particular day," Mahmood said. "But (we have told him) if he has any doubt he should let us know. At the moment he bowled today. He is fine. Yeah, definitely you would go with Amir."

In the semi-final, Amir was replaced by Rumman Raees, another left-arm fast bowler who made his ODI debut in the match; he shared the new ball with Junaid Khan and took 2 for 44 in Pakistan's eight-wicket victory.

Along with Hasan Ali, who has emerged as Pakistan's bowler of the tournament, Raees and Junaid surprised England, dismissing one of the best batting units over the last two years for 211. Hasan, who suffered a calf niggle in the semi-final, did not train with the team on Friday but Mahmood had said the bowler was resting as a precaution.

"We have the bench strength," Mahmood said. "Last match, when Amir was not there, people were worried about our main strike bowler not playing. But the way Rumman Raees came in and bowled, it showed we have the bench strength. We have guys who have such skill and such an ability that they can perform on any stage. It is just a matter of self belief and confidence. I think anyone can replace anyone."

Amir has been a near-constant presence in the Pakistan XI since his return to international cricket at the start of 2016, playing 47 out of the side's 57 international matches, across formats, in this period.

June 17, 2017: The story was updated after Pakistan coach Mickey Arthur confirmed Mohammad Amir's availability

Nagraj Gollapudi is a senior assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • dinesh9557268 on June 18, 2017, 16:09 GMT

    I was happy when Virat got almost 50 overs to bat. But he seemed to win the match by third over itself. What was wrong in being a little bit patient as one wicket is already lost and so many overs were remaining? I think he was under pressure due to poor performance of the bowlers.

  • dinesh9557268 on June 18, 2017, 16:03 GMT

    At last it happened as I afraid. By winning toss India thought they won the match. Congrats Pakistan. Played excellently. I am ashamed of seeing my hero's (No.1) attitude. Pandhya's batting was a console. Jadeja should have sacrificed his wicket for the team's sake. Perhaps, he didn't see what happened. I am a bit happy because those "win the toss, win the match" guys will be silent now.

  • timepa9339933 on June 18, 2017, 11:24 GMT

    Thats it .. good bye India.. Looks like a difficult Pitch to bat on... Openers and kohli wil be back in the pavilion you know ...

  • unkown on June 18, 2017, 8:47 GMT

    Pak lost this match the minute they announced Md Amir is fit and he will play! Pak does not play as a wholistic TEAM for whatever reason when Amir plays. No doubt, Amir is the best bowler in the team but the team performance itself is more important than any one individual. The other thing I mentioned too in the first game is that Pak really lack 'proper-blockbusting' batsman - Ind have two in Dhoni and Yuvraj.

  • unkown on June 18, 2017, 8:18 GMT

    @ CRICNINJA ON JUNE 17, 2017, 13:42 GMT - Thank you for contemplating my point, young brother. Yes, the Dil-scoop and Natraj shots are just little token gestures and, like you said, might not even be attributed to the English. Asians and indeed the rest of the world should be aware of what's happening and should be more pro-active in defining future ENGLISH terms rather than sit back and follow the lead. Like it or not but English has established itself as the 'neutral global' language so rather than resist, let's define it. What I'm stating is nothing new, the same thing was re-iterated my the great Martin Luther King and Malcolm X. Two great men who understood English methods better than most! Just look around you - Everything associated with white is great - Even when it's not white. Great White Shark and White Rhino are actually grey. White hair is called Grey hair. Saw some beautiful green grapes in Coles Supermarket (in Aus) description below said White Grapes....

  • dinesh9557268 on June 18, 2017, 8:06 GMT

    MEMORYLOSS-RECTIFIED ON JUNE 17, 2017, 6:14 GMT .. Memory loss, not rectfied

  • dinesh9557268 on June 18, 2017, 7:19 GMT

    Dear friends, there is grace mark for previous history in a cricket match. Virat Kohli knows that very well and his fans (his team's fans too) should follow that. The match should be attended with thorough homework, presented with good performance, without nervousness (which may cause you forget what you learned very well). All the best both teams.

  •   Cricinfouser on June 18, 2017, 6:03 GMT

    Playing 4 pacers is the only hope for Pakistan: Amir, Hassan, Junaid and Rumman should all play. Indian batsmen are too good against spin and Pakistan's batting will find it too difficult chasing anything more than 280.

  • asgar78864666 on June 18, 2017, 5:48 GMT

    Come on pakistan, Dont lose the hearts . even if u lose the match . You have already won the herats by reaching the finals.

  • Muhammad Irfan on June 18, 2017, 5:43 GMT

    best 11 for pakistan against india azhar fakhar babar malik hafeez sarfaraz fahim amir hassan ruman junaid

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