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Amir returning to his best, Younis says

Pakistan coach confident fast bowler can handle international return

After a five-year absence from international cricket, returning Pakistan pace bowler Mohammad Amir is nearing his best, coach Waqar Younis believes.

The fast bowler was 18 when he was banned in 2011 for five years for his involvement in spot fixing. He also served three months of a six-month prison term.

Since serving his ban, Amir has excelled in domestic first-class cricket and in the Bangladesh Premier League, and is set to take the field against New Zealand at Eden Park on Friday in the first of three Twenty20 internationals.

And while Younis has been impressed with what Amir has shown to date, he believes the 23-year-old quick isn't yet back to his best.

"I think there's more to come - he's not at what you would probably have seen five years ago, but he's definitely thereabout," he said.

"I guess once he's started playing at the international level, and he's played a few games and gets into it, you'll see the best of him."

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Younis said the Pakistan team was supporting Amir in his return to international cricket, saying the youngster had paid the price for his mistakes and should be allowed a fresh start.

Although there was still pressure on Amir, Younis was confident he would handle his return to top-level cricket.

"He was under pressure when he first arrived but he's fine, he's coping really well.

"The boys are helping him out to be part of the team, and I'm sure he's going to deliver the goods," Younis said.

Amir will need to find his best as Pakistan look to rein in a Black Caps team which destroyed Sri Lanka in the second T20 at Eden Park on Sunday.

After edging to a three-run win in the first match, the Kiwis destroyed Sri Lanka in the second, Martin Guptill (63 off 25) and Colin Munro (50 off 14) in particularly unforgiving form.

"The stats tell the story - they're playing some top cricket, and what they've done to Sri Lanka, that's something unreal," Younis said.

"But I guess it's a different ball game against us."