T10 League: Mohammed Amir determined to learn from 'idol' Wasim Akram
Pakistan pace bowler's Maratha Arabian in action against Pakhtoons when tournament begins in Sharjah on Thursday
Mohammed Amir says he wants to repay the faith shown in him by Wasim Akram and his franchise owners by bowling Maratha Arabians to success in the first T10 League.
The Pakistan pace bowler was the first player selected at the draft for the tournament at the start of November, a move large decided by Wasim, the Arabians’ team mentor.
Wasim believes the 12 balls Amir sends down per match will be crucial to laying a platform for success in the competition, which starts at Sharjah Cricket Stadium on Thursday evening.
The Arabians will play in the second match, against a Pakhtoons side that includes the likes of Shahid Afridi, Fakhar Zaman and Ahmed Shahzad.
Although the first 10-over league will be a step into the unknown for all involved, Amir said he is already feeling the weight of expectation.
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“Lots of people are involved in this,” Amir said. “Lots of people's money is involved in this. Lots of people's passion is involved in this. There is media pressure. There is crowd pressure.
“So this is totally different. You can't take it all that lightly. You can definitely enjoy it - cricket is meant to be enjoyed. But you have come here to play and perform.
“Franchises have paid you. You have to play for their passion, for their love [of the game]. You have to play for your respect, too. But it will be fun.”
Amir is grateful for the backing of Wasim, as well as the chance to work with him over the course of the week.
“I am excited to spend time with him,” Amir said of the former Pakistan left-arm fast-bowler.
“It's for four days, so I want to learn as much as I can from him. He has been my idol. I have looked up to him. I am hoping to learn from him during practice.
“This has been a good year for me. We [Pakistan] won the Champions Trophy. Then I played for Essex county for whom I performed well. And by the grace of God, I became a father. This has been my life's biggest blessing.”
A number of the teams are much changed since the draft took place. One franchise, Bengal Tigers, have undergone a frantic week of recruitment after six of their original picks subsequently signaled their unavailability.
Amir’s team also lost one of their stars, Kumar Sangakkara, whose image still adorns much of the signage surrounding the stadium and on billboards around UAE.
They managed to sign a high-pedigree replacement, though, after securing the services of Dwayne Bravo, the former West Indies all-rounder who is one of the world’s most experienced Twenty20 players.
Bravo was not initially available at the draft. He had wanted a break between playing at the Bangladesh Premier League earlier this month, and before going to Australia to play in the Big Bash League.
“I got some good news in the middle of the BPL that Sangakkara was pulling out, and that they were looking for a replacement,” Bravo said.
“I was asked if I’d have any interest, and obviously I would like to be part of history. This was the first T10 tournament, and in a beautiful country.
“It [T10] will be a batsman’s game. Most teams pick me for my bowling, and again I have to test my skills and ability. I am looking forward to it because it will be fun, but also very competitive.”
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Updated: December 13, 2017 08:56 PM