Karachi: Free to represent his country in international cricket post his five-year ban for fixing in 2010, Pakistan fast bowler Mohammad Amir said he has been training hard lately and is confident of becoming the bowler he was at the start of his career.
"I've kept myself fit and I'm training hard now, bowling every day for an hour and spending two hours each day in the gym. I'm confident I can become the bowler I was. You will see the same Mohammad Amir as before, inshallah," Amir was quoted as saying by dailymail.co.uk on Wednesday.
He reached 50 wickets in just 14 Tests, the quickest in Test history. He was then considered as a teenager on his way to superstardom but he threw it all away by bowling two no balls deliberately against England in a Test match at Lord's in 2010.
Amir was found to have complied with his then captain Salman Butt and senior bowler Mohammad Asif in a bookmaker's plan to manipulate the Test for money.
"I am very excited but I'm very conscious of what is ahead of me. It will not be easy and I’m not expecting it to be. I have a big challenge ahead but I am looking forward to it," he said.
While Butt and Asif seem highly unlikely to ever play for their country again, there has always been a pang of sympathy for 23-year-old Amir because of his age, talent and perceived naivety.
"I just want to say sorry to everybody who has supported me throughout the last five years and to those who were disappointed in me but above all I want to apologise to my nation," the Pakistani, who was once considered the most exciting young fast bowler in world cricket, said.
"I let everybody down but I will return with honesty and dignity. I want to make it up to them and I want to do that by representing Pakistan again," he said.
Amir underwent rehabilitation and the International Cricket Council (ICC) allowed him to play domestic cricket again ahead of schedule last January. Now he is available to play for Pakistan who will face England in the United Arab Emirates in October.
"I can never get back the years I've lost but I can try to accomplish a lot more in any opportunities I have. I have learned from the past and I only want to look to the future," the pacer said.
"I need to thank the ICC because they have been very fair with me. They allowed me to start playing again in January and that gave me the boost to think that I really could return to the game and reach the highest level again. That has been the inspiration all along," Amir concluded.