Whenever Pakistan lose any series, people start crying for the return of Mohammad Amir. He is considered as the saviour of the team as he played a key role in Pakistan’s last major win in the 2009 World T20. But is it a right attitude to want a player back in the team who has himself confessed to spot-fixing? And that too when we have an alternative in the form of Junaid Khan.

[caption id="attachment_1936" align="alignright" width="210"]Yearning for Mohammad Amir in the presence of Junaid Khan doesn’t seem right (Photo: AFP) Yearning for Mohammad Amir in the presence of Junaid Khan doesn’t seem right (Photo: AFP)[/caption]

It seems our minds are still slaves despite independence. It’s justifiable to be proud of the past, but the future should not be taken for granted. This reflects the fall of nations. And Pakistan cricket is no different. Moreover, Pakistan Cricket Board acting chairman Najam Sethi has also said he would demand the International Cricket Council for Amir’s return.

It seems there was only one bowler in Pakistan's history, who is Mohammad Amir, and the team would not lose a match if he is in the side. But the reality is that Amir does not have a magic wand which he waves to make Pakistan win mysteriously.

If we look at the present Pakistani team, Junaid Khan is the best alternative of Amir from every aspect. A little comparison would help.

In Test cricket, Amir has played 14 matches whereas Junaid has played 9. Amir has taken 51 wickets at an average of 29.09. His innings best is 6 wickets for 84 and match best is 106 runs for 7 wickets. On the other hand, Junaid took 29 wickets at 28.17. His innings best is 38 for 5 and match best is 115 for 6.

For a better and equal comparison, we take Amir’s first 9 Tests. Amir bowled 291 overs in his initial 9 matches, claiming 25 wickets, including a five-wicket haul. You have seen that as compared to Amir’s figures, Junaid has taken more wickets, with better average and with more five-wicket hauls.

In One Day International cricket, Junaid Khan has played 30 ODIs and AMir has played 15. Amir has taken 25 wickets at an average of 24. His best performance is 28 runs for 4 wickets. In comparison, Junaid has played taken 47 wickets at 24.40. His best figures are 12 for 4. In his first 15 matches, Junaid gave 550 runs, taking 24 wickets. His best, 12 for 4, is included in his initial 15 matches.

As for Twenty20, Amir has represented Pakistan in 18 matches and Junaid did so in 4. Junaid gave 102 runs and took 3 wickets, whereas Amir took 23 wickets at 19.86. Amir has taken 3 wickets in his first 4 matches. So there’s not much difference here, too.

[caption id="attachment_1937" align="alignright" width="300"]Comparison shows performances of Mohammad Amir and Junaid Khan are the same in all formats of the game (PA Photos) Comparison shows performances of Mohammad Amir and Junaid Khan are the same in all formats of the game (PA Photos)[/caption]

There no denying that Amir is a talented player, but to present a convict of spot-fixing as the messiah for the team is in no way justifiable. Especially, when the team has equally talented bowler like Junaid Khan.

And if talent is the only thing then Mohammad Asif was a much better bowler than Mohammad Amir, so why Najam Sethi is not trying to bring Asif back? So the PCB should take concrete steps to find bowlers for the future instead of relying completely on the older ones.

Even if Amir comes back in the team in future, he will do so at the cost of another talented bowler. But the more disappointing thing he is likely to face is that if he fails to perform, people will think he is subject to wrongdoings once again. The spot-fixing episode will keep coming back to haunt him for ever. Pakistan need to prepare another fast bowler for the 2015 World Cup who, along with Junaid Khan, will stun the opponents on the bowling friendly wickets of Australia and New Zealand.
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