Over the past few days, Pakistan’s Mohammad Amir is making headlines largely for the wrong reasons. Amir’s comment on Babar Azam – where he compared bowling to him with doing the same to tailenders – drew severe backlash from fans and former cricketers alike. Even Pakistan’s leading pacer Shaheen Afridi was surprised at Amir making the statement; furthermore, Amir’s on-field antics in the ongoing edition of the Pakistan Super League isn’t doing him any favours.
The former Pakistan fast bowler threw the ball towards Babar Azam in frustration over lack of wickets in his side’s opening match against Peshawar Zalmi in the league. Later, Amir was also seen sledging other players from the opposition, and further made a finger-on-the-lips gesture after dismissing Hassan Nawaz against Islamabad United.
Following Karachi Kings’ second match, Amir’s behaviour was discussed at length during a segment on Pakistan’s Samaa TV, and former captain Shahid Afridi, who was a part of the expert panel, made a major revelation about his chat with the pacer. Afridi revealed he texted Amir after the match and “scolded” him for his behaviour.
“Whenever a player doesn’t perform, or even if he does, I drop him a message for call him. Likewise, I messaged Amir yesterday. I talked to him respectfully, but I also scolded him. I told Amir, ‘what do you want?’ You have gained so much respect, you faced a blot on your reputation and from there, you made a return. You got a new life, in a way. What are you even trying to do?” Afridi said.
“Ye koi tareeka hai? (Is this the way to play?) There are juniors around you, you are using bad words. There are fans who are disheartened to see that. Even we have used such words and sometimes, the camera used to catch us. There are families, kids watching you on television. Aggression is fine, but keep it under control,” Afridi further said.
Afridi also namedropped Babar Azam as he continued to talk about Amir. “If you want to play for Pakistan, you have to play alongside Babar only. Will you be able to look at him in the eye? Can you play under his captaincy? Focus on your performance, control your aggression, and go back home peacefully,” Afridi further said.
The former Pakistan captain added that Amir was receptive to criticism and even apologized to Afridi. “He said sorry and thanked me for noticing this,” said Afridi.