“There are two teams against whom my energy is always very high: India and Australia. I get a real boost that I want to do something against them. It is natural because they are two tough teams, very tough teams. You know Australia is a very tough side and India, as a Pakistani, you know everyone is thinking that if you can perform against India, your star value, your cricketing value, image and reputation goes up big time, from nowhere to very high. Even if you haven’t done anything in five games against other teams but manage to do something against India in one match, then it evens up all your performances in a year,” Amir told ESPNCricinfo.
Even though Amir is now considered one of the senior members of the Pakistan side, the pacer feels that the real test of pressure comes when you play against India and the weight of the nation’s expectations if riding on your shoulder.
“See I’ve always believed you have to be thankful for what you already have, that we are playing cricket, and that is enough. I am representing my country, playing against Australia, England, India, that is enough. Against India, sure, there is that edge. You perform against them, it is something that stays with you an entire career like ‘Amir did this against India, or that’. If you look at Saeed [Anwar] bhai’s 194, everyone remembers it till today [because] it came against India. In India-Pakistan games, your star value increases, on both sides, and cricket benefits, cricket boards benefit. And your [ability to handle] pressure levels become very strong.
“These are pressure games, not about skills, I’ve always believed that. If you play against each other regularly, under all that pressure, you become so good at handling it that in other games, with lesser pressure, it doesn’t bother you, because you’ve gone through such big pressure. So you should have these games,” he said.
First Published: November 21, 2017, 8:54 AM IST