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Amir embodies Pakistan's fighting spirit in defeat against Australia
Pakistan News

Amir embodies Pakistan's fighting spirit in defeat against Australia

Mohammad Amir was back at his vintage best at Taunton in front of a packed stadium inundated with Pakistani supporters as he registered career-best figures of 5-30 against Australia on Wednesday.

Amir seemed to be bowling on a different pitch altogether while his teammates squandered chances to build pressure on the opposition.

Heading into the World Cup at the back of an extended lean run, Amir has been on top of his game at this tournament as he currently sits atop the bowling charts.

It has been a dramatic turnaround for the resurgent Amir, who was overlooked in the preliminary squad for the World Cup and subsequently could not even participate in the series against England due to a bout of chicken pox.

He stormed into international cricket a decade ago as a teenage pace prodigy but his blooming career met a staggering obstacle when he was found guilty of bowling no-balls during the Lord's Test in 2010 and was banned from all forms of the game for five years.

The intervening period since the expiry of his ban has been a rugged journey to redemption, as Amir faced a severe dip in form in the last couple of years.

Chastised by critics for his declining standards and almost losing out on the dream of representing his team in a World Cup, Pakistan's pace spearhead is now back with a bang, epitomized by a sizzling spell of fast bowling on Wednesday.

While Pakistan lost their second game of the tournament and presently sulk at the bottom half of the table, Amir's consistency in this World Cup has been a highlight.

An electrifying atmosphere accompanied Amir's spell of vicious pace bowling with the Taunton crowd chanting his name at the top of their lungs.

The support Amir received at Taunton brings back fond memories of his return to first-class cricket in England at this very venue three years ago in a County fixture against Somerset.

Amir looked the sole threat to halting Australia's brutal assault on Pakistan's bowling attack, as he pegged back their progress significantly managing to reduce them to the score of 307, which at one time seemed in excess of 350.

Amir's impressive five-wicket haul also garnered the praise of Australia's opening batsman David Warner who labeled his second spell as "fantastic".

'Motivated by the crowd support'

In a discussion with AFP last week, Amir expressed he was grateful for the tremendous adoration espoused by his compatriot fans.

"It's really amazing, I mean the crowd support," Amir said. "We have so many Pakistani fans at all England grounds and when they shout my name it pumps me up."

Although Pakistan had a horrific start to their World Cup campaign in the seven-wicket routing by the West Indies, Amir showed glimpses of his recovered form.

He later played the key role in Pakistan's surprise 14-run triumph over England at Trent Bridge, snapping up two wickets including the prized scalp of Jos Buttler.

In the midst of a supreme display of fast bowling, Amir ranks number one among wicket-takers this tournament boasting an average of 12.30 and a miserly economy rate of 4.73.