England v Pakistan Tests

Tendulkar weighs in on Amir debate

The Little Master says Pakistan's much-maligned paceman has served his time away from cricket

Cricket Network

13 July 2016, 06:55 PM

Sachin Tendulkar says Pakistan's Mohammad Amir has "served his sentence" and has no issue with the paceman's return to international cricket.

Amir returned for Pakistan in the shorter formats earlier this year but it's his pending appearance at Lord's tomorrow night – the same venue at which he committed his no-balls spot-fixing crime in 2010 – for the first Test against England that has brought the issue to a head.

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Former England players Graeme Swann and Kevin Pietersen have been particularly outspoken on the issue, suggesting Amir, who was 18 during the 2010 Test series, should not be allowed to return to top-level cricket.

England captain Alastair Cook also suggested the left-arm quick would receive a hostile reaction from crowds around the country.

Tendulkar however, was far more magnanimous in his view, saying Amir, now 24, had paid his dues, and is capable of playing a starring role in the four-Test series.

"He has skills, and if he gets his rhythm right he will be able to do something special," the Indian legend told ESPN Cricinfo.

"I think the guys who decided to penalise him have already penalised him. He's served his sentence and now he's back to playing after (doing) whatever he was asked to do, so I think it's fine.

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"I've seen a couple of (Amir's) interviews. One with Michael Atherton, I saw that interview and he came across as a mature guy with balance and that is something that will reflect on the field I think.

"It's all about how you think, how you plan, and then you execute those plans on the field."

Amir played 14 Tests prior to his ban, taking 51 wickets at 29, and looked in impressive touch in Taunton last week when he took 3-36 in a fiery opening burst against Somerset.

"Some people had doubts whether he would be the same bowler in the longer version of the game after a five-year gap but he has proven that he is still a massive threat," Pakistan captain Misbah-ul-Haq wrote in his exclusive column with cricket.com.au.

"The way he swung the ball and showed control over line and length against Somerset, I am sure the opposition will be watching him closely.

"It has given us extra confidence, too."

Meg Lanning Steve Smith