Pakistan opener Shan Masood said Mohammad Amir is better than what he was six years ago as the returning paceman send warning bells after his devastating bowling against Somerset in the tour match on Monday.
Amir, who served a five-year ban and jail term in a spot-fixing case on Pakistan’s last tour in 2010, finished with 3-36 in 11 concise overs to help Pakistan bundle out Somerset for a paltry 128.
Masood, who scored 62 in Pakistan’s first innings of 359-8 declared, said Amir has shown mental strength.
“I think he is even better than what he was before and that shows how strong mentally he is,” said Masood of the 24-year-old left-armer. “He has shown tremendous amount of guts coming back after such a long gap from the game.
“It speaks volume for him and hopefully he carries on and get an even better bowling performance in Tests,” hoped Masood.
Amir accounted for experienced Marcus Trescothick, Adam Hose and Peter Trego as all present at the ground saw an incredible spell of bowling.
Asked were there any mental blocks for Amir after his long lay-off and trepidation, Masood replied in negative: “Not at all, judging by his performance. I think there was some serious pace bowling out there and he was backed up by other bowlers as well and that generally lifts you up.
“Having the support of the other bowlers and that of the team and that sort of bumps you up. I think there is a smooth transition (for him) back into the longer format of cricket and hopefully he carries on and be into his best in this series.”
Asked would a major focus on Amir affect others, Masood said: “I think that will allow other bowlers to come up as surprise with all the attention may be focused on Amir. We have got four other fantastic bowlers and each worthy of playing in that eleven and if any one of them gets it right on that particular day they can be as threatening as Amir.”