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Maybe Rohit's opinion has changed: Amir

29 July 2017

Amir removed India's top three, including Rohit, in a devastating Champions Trophy final spell // Getty

Cricket Network

Cricket Network

Pakistan paceman discusses match-winning spell in Champions Trophy final and comments from India's star opener

Mohammad Amir has heaped praise on rival Rohit Sharma and says "maybe his opinion about me has changed" after the Indian labelled the Pakistan quick overhyped and "just a normal bowler" last year.

Rohit was one of Amir's three wickets in a stunning opening spell that guided Pakistan to victory over their fierce rivals in the Champions Trophy final in June, his nation's first major ODI title in 25 years.

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It came a little more than a year after Rohit created controversy when he talked down the left-armer, who had dismissed the Indian opener in a similarly impressive three-wicket burst at the T20 Asia Cup.

"Stop talking about him already," Rohit said at the time. "He isn't the only bowler, Pakistan have five other bowlers who are doing well for them. 

"There is just so much hype around him, I don't think it is right to give him too much hype after one match. He is good but he needs to prove it over and over again.

"Now people are comparing him to Wasim Akram and all that. He is just a normal bowler, on that given day if he is good, he is good. It is not as if he turns up and blows everyone away."

Pakistan thrash India to claim Champions Trophy

Amir played a straight bat when asked this week if taking Rohit's wicket in the Champions Trophy final had given him extra satisfaction, adding he's unconcerned by what his rivals say about him.

"That was his opinion about me and he is entitled to that opinion," Amir told Sky Sports. "Maybe his opinion about me has now changed.

"But let's get one thing clear, I would never call him an ordinary batsman. In fact, I would call him an extraordinary batsman. His record for India is superb and I respect him.

"His opinions about other cricketers are up to him, but with all due respect I never worry about what other cricketers have to say about me.

"It's not my concern at all and I just concentrate on my performances and what I am doing for my team. If I worried about other people's opinions of me that would just cause me stress and that is why I avoid it.

"Everyone is entitled to their opinion, whether it's labelling a cricketer world-class or ordinary; it is up to that individual."

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Amir's stunning spell at The Oval last month, in the same city where he had committed a spot-fixing offence that forever changed his life almost seven years ago, was made even more impressive given the form of India's top three heading into the match.

Rohit was coming off a sparkling century in the semi-final against Bangladesh; his opening partner, Shikhar Dhawan, had been the standout batsman of the tournament, piling on scores of 68, 125, 78 and 46 in his four previous trips to the middle; and the No.3 was Virat Kohli, a man who boasts arguably the finest batting record in ODI history and who had just compiled a sublime unbeaten 96 in his last knock.

In the space of five overs, Amir counted for all three of them: Rohit for nought, Dhawan for 21, and Kohli for five.

And even Wasim Akram was moved to tweet that the 25-year-old left-armer reminded him of himself.

The spell put Pakistan on the path to what was ultimately a comprehensive 180-run victory as Amir completed a redemption of sorts in the eyes of many Pakistan supporters.

His brother Neveed spoke with the Times of India about what the win meant for Amir's family and friends back home.

"Our family village, Changa Bungial, is near Gujjar Khan near Rawalpindi and after the spot-fixing scandal happened, we were so ashamed and felt bad about facing people," Naveed said.

"Our family has now settled in Defence Lahore but our roots remain in our village and now when we go there we can proudly look up to our people again.

"Since completing his punishment, (Amir) wanted to do something exceptional for Pakistan to make up for his wrongdoing and I think he managed that on Sunday."