Mohammad Amir retires from Test cricket
Mohammad Amir played the last of his 36 Tests in January. © AFP

Pakistan fast bowler Mohammad Amir has quit Test cricket with immediate effect, while maintaining that he is available to play ODIs and T20Is.

This sudden decision brings to a close a Test career spanning 36 matches between 2009 and 2019, during which Amir took 119 wickets an 30.47 apiece.

On Friday, via a statement from the Pakistan Cricket Board, Amir said: “It has been an honour to represent Pakistan in the pinnacle and traditional format of the game. I, however, have decided to move away from the longer version so I can concentrate on white ball cricket. Playing for Pakistan remains my ultimate desire and objective, and I will try my best to be in the best physical shape to contribute in the team’s upcoming challenges, including next year’s ICC T20 World Cup.

“It has not been an easy decision to make and I have been thinking about this for some time. But with the ICC World Test Championship commencing shortly, and Pakistan boasting some very exciting young fast bowlers, it is appropriate that I call on my time in Test cricket so that the selectors can plan accordingly.

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“I want to thank all my team-mates as well the opponents in red ball cricket. It has been a privilege to play with and against them. I am sure our paths will continue to cross in limited-overs cricket as all of us play and compete with the same vigour and determination. I also want to thank the PCB for providing me the opportunity to don the golden star on my chest. And, I am grateful to my coaches who have groomed me at various stages of my career.”

Mohammad Amir retirement
Amir featured in 36 Tests, taking 119 wickets at 30.47. AFP

He made his Test debut as a teenager in Sri Lanka and impressed with his left-arm pace and swing, in particular.

However, hardly a year into Test cricket, and at 18 having become the fastest bowler to take 50 wickets, Amir was implicated in a spot-fixing scandal that erupted during a Test match at Lord’s. In early 2011, he was banned for five years after an ICC tribunal investigated the allegations, and pleaded guilty. Amir was imprisoned for six months in a UK prison.

Amir’s sentence was lifted in 2015 and he made his return to international cricket in early 2016. However, he was not the same bowler in Tests and his 22 Tests since 2016 yielded Amir 68 wickets at an average of 31.51 with one five-wicket haul.

PCB Managing Director Wasim Khan commented: “Amir has been one of the most exciting and talented left-arm fast bowlers in Test cricket in recent times. He overcame adversity as a young cricketer and came back stronger not only as a cricketer but also as a better human being. His skill, on the field, and his personality will be missed in the dressing room in the longer format.

“However, we respect his decision and look forward to him continuing to play an integral role in white ball cricket for Pakistan.”