Pakistan captain Sarfaraz Ahmed has expressed concern over ace bowler Mohammad Amir's form ahead of the ICC Men's Cricket World Cup 2019.
Amir, who was dropped after just one match in the recent five-match one-day international series against Australia in the United Arab Emirates, has gone wicketless in nine of his last 14 games. And Sarafraz was worried about the fast bowler's predicament.
"When your main strike bowler is not taking wickets regularly, obviously it causes concern to the captain," he told a television channel.
In the ICC Champions Trophy 2017, Amir's spell of 3/16 in the final rocked the tournament favourites India to hand Pakistan victory. He was in exceptional form then, tormenting the strong Indian top-order and it looked like the 26-year-old was here to stay. Unfortunately, a string of below par performances since then have cast a shadow of doubt over his inclusion in the World Cup squad.
"I can't say whether he will be in the World Cup squad or not but our minds are clear about our plans and when the squad is announce everyone will know," the Pakistan skipper added.
I can't say whether he [Amir] will be in the World Cup squad or not but our minds are clear about our plans.
Pakistan's World Cup campaign will begin on 31 May against West Indies. Prior to the premier event, they will tour England to play five ODIs and a one-off T20I from 5 May. The selectors will be announcing the 15-member World Cup squad on 18 April, followed by a 17-18-member squad for the England tour on 23 April, so Amir still has his opportunities.
Last month, during the Australia series in UAE, Pakistan bowling coach Azhar Mahmood showed faith in the bowler's ability to bounce back and pointed out that he had been working on his fitness.
"Amir is a wonderful bowler. But since he returned, he was playing non-stop cricket so we have to do work on his fitness," Mahmood had said. "If Amir is fit and bowling well then we know he is a wicket-taker.
"The reason for that is playing three formats, in limited overs you bowl a bit shorter. Amir is a swing bowler and that’s what makes him dangerous. On a Sharjah type wicket, you have to bowl a bit shorter so his ball isn’t swinging but he’s working hard and I hope he’ll come back strong."