Amir proves his fitness as Pakistan draw final warm-up match

In this file photo, Pakistan's Mohammad Amir celebrates taking the wicket of Ireland's Niall O'Brien during Ireland's inaugural test match against Pakistan at Malahide cricket club, in Dublin on May 14, 2018. (AFP)
Updated 21 May 2018

Amir proves his fitness as Pakistan draw final warm-up match

  • Amir bowled at a lively pace on the side of the square during the lunch break and is understood not to have suffered any adverse reaction
  • Pakistan look likely to stick with the same side that beat Ireland with England

LONDON: Mohammad Amir appeared to prove his fitness as Pakistan drew their final warm-up match ahead of the start of their two-Test series against England.
A two-day game against Leicestershire was always likely to end in a draw and that was the case as the Midlands county finished on 226 for six in reply to Pakistan’s first innings 321 for nine declared.
Amir was one of several first-choice players rested from this match ahead of the first Test at Lord’s starting Thursday after suffering a recurrence of a longstanding knee problem during Pakistan’s preceding five-wicket victory over Test debutants Ireland in Malahide, Dublin completed on Tuesday.
The left-arm quick did, however, bowl at a lively pace on the side of the square during the lunch break and is understood not to have suffered any adverse reaction.
Amir, now 26, saw his cricket career almost ended for good after he was caught up in a spot-fixing scandal during a 2010 Test against England at Lord’s.
He was given a jail sentence by an English court and a five-year ban by the International Cricket Council, but made his return to the world stage two years ago.
In Amir’s absence, Pakistan still had several frontline bowlers playing against Leicestershire, who kept the tourists at bay thanks to a fifty from Ateeq Javid.
That Pakistan failed to dismiss Leicestershire, a Second Division county, may be regarded as disappointing but tor fixtures are a notoriously unreliable guide to how a team will perform in Test matches.
It is only two years ago since Pakistan, albeit with now-retired batsmen Misbah-ul-Haq and Younis Khan in the side, drew a four-Test series in England 2-2.
They also upset the odds to beat arch-rivals India in the final of last year’s Champions Trophy one-day tournament at The Oval in London.
That 2016 series also saw the now injured Yasir Shah play a key role and the performance of the leg-spinner’s teenage replacement Shadab Khan could now have an important bearing on this year’s shortened campaign.
Pakistan look likely to stick with the same side that beat Ireland with England, who failed to win a single one out of seven Test during their recent tours of Australia and New Zealand, recalling talented ball-striker Jos Buttler to a reshaped batting line-up.

Lampard stresses ‘respect’ for Mourinho ahead of key match

Updated 28 November 2020

Lampard stresses ‘respect’ for Mourinho ahead of key match

LONDON: Chelsea boss Frank Lampard believes Jose Mourinho is as good a manager as he has ever been, insisting he respects his former boss despite recent spats.

Mourinho’s Tottenham are top of the Premier League ahead of this weekend’s fixtures, just two points clear of Chelsea.

The Portuguese has enjoyed huge success throughout his career but struggled toward the end of his spell at Manchester United and took time to find his feet at Spurs.

The two managers clashed on the touchline in their League Cup meeting in September and last year Mourinho suggested Lampard had used former Chelsea boss Antonio Conte’s tactics to beat Spurs in the league.

But Lampard, who won two Premier League titles under Mourinho at Stamford Bridge, played down the incidents and said the Portuguese was still a top manager.

“You don’t get a record as decorated as Jose Mourinho has as a manager without being a very talented coach,” he said.

“For all of us the game is so reactionary at the moment, particularly in the modern era, with social media reactions, that form will always be judged very harshly for any manager.”

Lampard, who is in his second season in charge at Chelsea, said he was not surprised by anything management threw at him.

“I’ve got respect for Jose as a manager and I think that’s just how it is,” he said. “I didn’t take any offense to the talk of Antonio Conte’s system or whatever.”

“Jose can have his opinions and it’s not a problem,” he added. “I’ve got respect for him and it’s nothing contentious for me.”

Sunday’s match will be the 1,000th game since Roman Abramovich became owner of Chelsea, transforming the club from also-rans to serial trophy contenders.

Since Abramovich’s takeover in 2003, the Blues have won five Premier League titles, the club’s only Champions League, two Europa Leagues, five FA Cups and three League Cups.

“As manager and as a player who was involved in a lot of those games I can give him a huge thank you because nothing that we have achieved in the Roman Abramovich era could have happened without him and his support,” said Lampard.

“Whether you’re talking about firstly the financial input but also the development of the training ground, the love and time put into the academy and the trophies we’ve been able to win have all been made possible because of him.”