India-Pakistan CT final: Pacer Mohammad Amir may return to squad

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India-Pakistan CT final: Pacer Mohammad Amir may return to squad
India-Pakistan CT final: Pacer Mohammad Amir may return to squad

London : Pakistan pace spearhead Mohammad Amir completed an entire training session on Friday, indicating that he is most likely to take the field in the high-octane ICC Champions Trophy final against India at The Oval here on Sunday.

A back spasm had ruled Amir out of the semi-final against England, shortly before the toss on Wednesday.

Pakistan bowling coach Azhar Mahmood said Amir was fit but did not indicate whether the speedster would play on Sunday. 

"Amir bowled today. Amir is fit. We have not decided about (playing him)," Mahmood was quoted as saying by espncricinfo.

Mahmood dropped enough hints of including the left-arm pacer in the crucial tie with the kind of experience he brings into the side.

"When you go to a final, you want your experienced player, you want him to be fully fit and participating on that particular day. 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," he added.

The former all-rounder pointed out that Amir's inclusion in the playing XI could be at the cost of rookie Rumman Raees, who took 2/44 on his One-day International (ODI) debut in the semi-final.

"Let us see who is going to play -- Rumman Raees or Amir. 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. So, it is a good sign for us, guys can replace other guys," he said.

Mahmood also said Pakistan have the bench strength and won't be in any trouble in case Amir fails to participate in the final.

"We have the bench strength. 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," he added.

Amir, who went wicketless in the first two Group B matches, against India and South Africa, contributed with both the bat and ball against Sri Lanka, to help the Green Brigade sail into the semi-finals. 

He complimented his figures of 2/53 with a valuable unbeaten 28 in an eighth-wicket partnership with skipper Sarfraz Ahmed that sealed a semi-final place for Pakistan.