Fast bowler Mohammad Amir on Thursday announced a break from international cricket, saying he was being “mentally tortured” by the management of the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB).
He said that the current environment at the PCB and the way he was sidelined from the 35-member squad for the New Zealand tour was a “wake up call” for him.
“If I wasn’t in the plan for those 35 boys, then it is a wake-up call for me to see my future plan [and] how I have to carry on my cricket.
“The kind of environment that has been created, I don’t think I can play cricket under this management. That is why I am leaving cricket at this time,” he said.
Amir said he was being “tortured mentally”, adding that he did not think he could tolerate it anymore.
“I have seen a lot of torture between 2010 and 2015 when I was away from cricket, whatever happened and the punishment that I served,” he said.
The cricketer was referring to the infamous scandal in 2010 when he was implicated in allegations of spot-fixing for bowling two deliberate no-balls in return for payment as part of a betting scam in the Lord’s Test against England. He was subsequently questioned by Scotland Yard along with teammates Mohammad Asif and Salman Butt and pleaded guilty. He was convicted in November 2011 and banned from playing for five years.
“I am constantly tortured that the PCB invested a lot in me. I will give credit to two people who invested in me. First, I came back after serving five years of punishment, I did not come back in a year.
“[Former PCB chairman Najam] Sethi and Shahid Afridi, these two people helped me at the time. The rest of the team said they would not play with Mohammad Amir,” he added. “I will always thank these two people for supporting me in that tough time,” he said.
He said an environment had been created in which he was receiving “taunts on everything” and his personal decision to quit Test match cricket was being manipulated to suggest that “I do not want to play for the national team”.
“Why would anyone not want to play for his country?” he questioned.
Following Amir’s announcement, the PCB released a statement saying the board’s chief executive, Wasim Khan, spoke with the player this afternoon “following reports that the fast bowler had announced his retirement from international cricket”.
The said Amir “confirmed to the PCB chief executive that he has no desire or intention of playing international cricket and as such, he should not be considered for future international matches”.
“This is a personal decision of Mohammad Amir, which the PCB respects, and as such, will not make any further comment on this matter at this stage,” according to the statement.
Criticism over Amir Test retirement
The left-arm fast bowler had announced his retirement from Test cricket in December of last year so he could concentrate on playing white-ball cricket.
He shared that he was considering retirement from the format “for some time”, adding that it “has not been an easy decision to make”. However, Pakistan’s fast bowling greats Wasim Akram, Waqar Younis and Shoaib Akhtar expressed their surprise over Amir’s decision with Shoaib Akhtar saying it set a bad precedent for younger fast bowlers.
“Amir quitting Test matches could be followed by the retirement of Hasan Ali, Wahab Riaz and Junaid Khan. I don’t understand what is happening with the Pakistan team. How could Amir retire at the age of 27?” wondered Shoaib.
“Pakistan has invested so much on him and brought him out of the  spot-fixing scandal to the national side and is trying to give him chances. Now that he was in good form, he has retired,” Shoaib regretted.
Shoaib, who played for Pakistan in all formats, said that it was the time for Amir to pay back to the country because in Test matches the national team’s performance had touched the lowest point.
Former Test opener Ramiz Raja was also dismayed by Amir’s decision.
“Amir white flagging Test cricket at 27 is disappointing. Besides being dismissive of the greatest format that makes stars legends his decision is clearly not in line with the needs of Pak ckt which is desperately looking to reboot test cricket. Was time to repay & not eject,” Ramiz, who is now a TV commentator, tweeted.