Azhar Ali backs Mohammed Amir to come good in England tour


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Azhar Ali, Pakistan's One-Day International captain, has acknowledged that Mohammed Amir isn't under any pressure going into the England tour. The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has already begun the process of acquiring a visa for the pacer where the team is scheduled to play to play four Tests, five One-Day Internationals and the lone Twenty20 International against England starting in July.

"(What happened in) 2010 is in the past and now we need to look forward," Azhar said on Tuesday (May 31). "It has been a while now since he has been with us. It could have been tough had he come in straight on such a tour, but now, after playing with us for a long time, things have settled. Even he isn't under pressure because he has already made his comeback a few months ago and the toughest phase is over for him.

"I know England was the place where the incident [in 2010] happened but hopefully he can handle the pressure like he did on his comeback. But still if anything happens, we, as a team, will handle it."

Azhar seemed confident of the team doing well in England. "The England tour has always been challenging but the belief of doing good is important and we all have it," he pointed out. "If you have belief, then it will help you practically in the field. In Test cricket, we have been doing well with a settled and confident side. Conditions might be difficult there but every player has an aim to do well in the conditions to make Pakistan win.

"The Pakistan team in the past has always been a competitive side. We either won or gave them tough competition. Previously in 2010, we had a very young side but this time we have experienced players both who were part of the tour that time, and some players who missed. So overall we have a good team to compete. Our bowling has always been good and England's batting had always appeared vulnerable against them, so the idea is to utilise the combination."

England are currently leading a three-match Test series against Sri Lanka 2-0 with one to play. The series will be followed by a five-match ODI series, and one T20I will conclude the tour before they play Pakistan.

Pakistan will kick-start their tour with a tour match against Somerset on July 3, following it up with another practice game against Sussex prior to the start of the main tournament. The first Test between the visitors and England will be played on July 14 at Lord's.

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