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‘Learnt harsh lessons that I will never forget’

‘Learnt harsh lessons that I will never forget’

It has been more than a year since Mohammad Amir made his comeback in the international cricket. But the dark summer of 2010 remains fresh in the fast bowler’s mind. Found guilty of spot-fixing during Pakistan’s tour of England, Amir, then 17, was handed a five-year-long ban from all forms of cricket.

Though he has been reintegrated into the system and has been at the forefront of Pakistan’s major successes, his corrupted no-balls remain to be a part of every discourse related to Amir.

“That was a very tough time in my life,” Amir told in an interview reminiscing the tour. “I learnt a lot of harsh lessons that I will never forget. I will always maintain that any young cricketer can learn a lot from what happened to me … I was banned when I feel I was at my peak and anyone in my shoes would feel the same way I did and would also have gone through the whole range of emotions that I did.”

Amir played an integral role for Pakistan during the final of the ICC Champions Trophy against India last month. He removed India’s top-three batsmen – Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli, and Shikhar Dhawan - to seal the match for his side.

“I think cricket changed a lot during my ban,” the 24-year-old said. “It became faster-paced and with the rise of the Twenty20 format it meant that cricketers had to be quick-thinkers and more flexible when it came to their approach.”

Speaking about his transformation since his ban, the pacer said that he had become ‘more mature both on and off the field’. He said: “Things happened so quickly, one minute I was playing club cricket, then domestic cricket, then for Pakistan A and suddenly I was playing for my country against the best players in the world. I think the more cricket you play, the more you will learn about yourself and learn about life in general.

“I also think that what has happened in the past to me has made me a more mature and humble person and I think I am a well-rounded man now who is more aware of his surroundings.”