Canterbury - Pakistan bowling coach Azhar Mahmood
"wants more" from Mohammad Amir, a challenge he believes the paceman
will rise to in upcoming Test matches against Ireland and England.
Amir was the hottest property in world cricket after
bursting on the scene as a teenager in 2009.
He was soon earning comparisons with fellow Pakistan
left-arm fast bowler Wasim Akram, with Wasim himself declaring Amir a better
bowler than he had been at the same age.
At 18, Amir was the youngest bowler to have reached the
landmark of 50 Test wickets.
His first 14 matches in the five-day game saw him take 51
wickets at just a fraction over 23 apiece - figures that had Amir on course to
be an all-time great.
But Amir's world was turned upside down in 2010 when he and
Mohammad Asif became involved in a spot-fixing scandal after deliberately
bowling no-balls during the Lord's Test against England at the behest of then
Pakistan captain Salman Butt.
In 2011 Amir was given a five-year ban by the International
Cricket Council and sentenced to six months in jail by an English court.
Amir returned to international duty in 2016 but his 16 Tests
since his comeback have yielded 44 wickets at a relatively expensive 37.25.
"We want more from Amir, as bowling coach I want more
from Amir," Mahmood said after the paceman took one wicket for 45 runs
in 15 overs during Pakistan's drawn tour opener against Kent at Canterbury on
"If you see his record since he came back it's not
great, but he was coming back after five years out," the former Pakistan
all-rounder added. "He needs to take a bit more responsibility and get
more wickets for us.
"If he's the leader of this attack, he needs to show us
a bit more.
"I'm sure he will do that and that's what we want from
Given his lengthy absence it is unsurprising that the now
26-year-old Amir has not quite scaled the heights he reached earlier in his
Nevertheless, there have been some memorable moments since
his return, with Amir taking a superb three for 16 in six overs as Pakistan
thrashed arch-rivals India by 180 runs in the final of last year's Champions
Trophy one-day tournament at The Oval.
Amir's figures against Kent on a cool, if sunny, day were
nothing like as spectacular.
This, however, was a warm-up match, with Pakistan next
facing Northamptonshire before providing the opposition for Ireland's inaugural
Test and then returning to England for a two-Test series.
And one delivery from Amir, who served part of his prison
sentence in Canterbury jail, stood out on Tuesday when he demolished the stumps
of Alex Blake with a late-swinging yorker.
It certainly caught the admiring attention of Kent assistant
coach Allan Donald, the former South Africa fast bowler.
"When I saw this kid a few years ago, he's one of the
most skilful that's going around," Donald said.
"When you saw him knocking over those 'poles' that's
exactly what you expect from him - so much skill, so much imagination and
creativity to produce that sort of thing on flat pitches."
He added: "When it gets flat, you have to think out of
the box and to see that happening was an eye-opener."
Meanwhile Donald predicted Pakistan, whose last Test series
in England ended in a highly creditable 2-2 draw in 2016, would impress again
"There are some seriously good players in this Pakistan
team," he said.
"I think it's going to be a great series - I hope it
warms up for them though."