Former Pakistan pacer Shoaib Akhtar has advised disgraced fast bowler Mohammad Amir to ‘hire a shrink’ as he charts his return to international cricket after a five-year ban for spot-fixing.
Akhtar, who played alongside the then teenager Amir in 2010, said the left-arm fast bowler could have picked up ‘250 or 300 wickets if it wasn’t for the ban’ and will need to be psychologically tough when he returns.
The Rawalpindi Express said all was not lost for Amir, who along with Salman Butt and Mohammad Asif, will have served his five-year ban on September 1.
“I really want him to grow up, mature and get serious help, get a serious shrink, and serious advisors, and go out to perform to the best of his ability,” the 40-year-old Akhtar told An Arab News agency in an interview.
According to him, Amir had another six to seven years in him despite being out of action for five years.
“Amir has six or seven years to go out and have a bold time for Pakistan.”
The outspoken Akhtar, who picked up 178 Test and 247 ODIs wickets in a 14-year career for Pakistan, said the spot-fixing trio would forever be indebted to the country.
“They are indebted to Pakistan and every day they play for their country they will carry that burden until the minute they retire,” he said.
“They have done something wrong, very wrong, but now to wash that off they will need go out and play at their optimum and bring glory back to Pakistan. That way people will forgive and forget.
“There will be a million judging eyes and stigma upon them, it’s not going to go away, so they have to try and make it fade away.”
The disgraced trio will be eligible for an international return in 2016 after a new Pakistan Cricket Board rehab programme for the three cricketers.
Akhtar said the trio would redeem themselves if they manage to be a part of Pakistan’s squad for next year’s World T20 and bring back the cup.
“The perfect apology for me would be if they went on and won the T20 World Cup. If they want to apologise don’t say it verbally, bring the World Cup back from India, or perform at the best of your ability and bring laurels back to Pakistan, and we will forgive you.”