Amir likely to be fit for Champions Trophy final

“We have not decided about (playing him)”

Image courtesy of: Zimbio

Pakistan left-arm seamer Mohammad Amir underwent a fitness test at The Oval on Friday and is set to be given the green light to play in the Champions Trophy final against India on Sunday.

Amir sat on the sidelines during Pakistan’s semi-final victory over England on Wednesday due to back spasms.

Pakistan bowling coach Azhar Mahmood confirmed that Amir had recovered, but stopped short of saying whether the 25-year-old would play in the final.

“Amir bowled today. Amir is fit,” Mahmood said on Friday. “We have not decided about (playing him).”

Despite only having taken two wickets, both of which came in the must-win group stage game against Sri Lanka, Mahmood admitted that Amir will be selected for the final if he is fit to play.

“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, but we don’t mind if Amir can’t play. If he is not fit, then we have to move on.”

Should Amir be picked for the highly-anticipated clash with India, it will likely come at the expense of Rumman Raees, who made his ODI debut in the semi-final against England.

“Let us see who is going to play – Rumman Raees or Amir,” Mahmood said. “Doesn’t matter. He [Raees] is a quality bowler as well. And he showed in the semi-finals on a big stage he can do the job for us.”

Meanwhile, Mahmood played down concerns about the calf injury pace bowler Hasan Ali sustained in the semi-final. Hasan is currently the leading wicket-taker in the Champions Trophy as he has taken 10 wickets at an average of 17.20.

“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.”

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