Misbah challenges Amir to win over English public


Misbah-ul-Haq revealed Mohammad Amir is in the right frame of mind as he prepares to return to the scene of his crime at Lord's and challenged the Pakistan paceman to win over the English public ahead of the first Test.

Amir served a five-year ban for spot-fixing after being found guilty of deliberately bowling no balls during the fourth Test against England at Lord's in 2010.

The 24-year-old quick made his limited-overs return at international level on the tour of New Zealand in January and will make his Test comeback on a ground where he will be braced for a hostile reception, given his actions six years ago.

Pakistan captain Misbah has no concerns over how Amir will cope with the occasion and said it is down to the left-armer to build bridges with England fans at the start of the four-match series

Asked how Amir has dealt with going back to Lord's, Misbah said: "His mood is good. He's just focusing on what he has to come and do in the ground.

"He's really responding well to that, it's a big opportunity for him to come on the field and perform for Pakistan, to win the people again.

"At the moment for us I have no worries for us in terms of Mohammad Amir."

Pakistan beat England 2-0 in the United Arab Emirates last year, but Misbah knows Alastair Cook's men will be a different proposition on home soil in what will be the tourists' first series under new head coach Mickey Arthur.

"It's a big challenge, everybody knows that. England are playing really well, they just performed really well against a top side [Sri Lanka]," the veteran batsman said.

"Our aim is to play good cricket, be competitive and try to win this series."

Cook is eager for an end to talk of Amir's return as England target revenge in the four-match series.

The England skipper said: "I've said all along I don't think match-fixers should be allowed to play but at the time he [Amir] was given his punishment, he's served it so he's entitled to come back. He's served his time.

"I just hope that we can concentrate on the cricket now. It's the big story about this Test match, but I thought the way both sides played in the UAE [last year] that the spirit between us was different to in the past, and I hope we can carry that on and talk about the cricket."

Cook confirmed that Jake Ball will make his England debut in place of James Anderson (shoulder), while Gary Ballance is set for a recall at number five as Joe Root prepares to move up a place to three after Nick Compton opted to take a break from the game.


- Pakistan are unbeaten in their last six Tests against England (won five and drawn one), all of which were held in the UAE.

- The last time Pakistan won a Test at Lord's was in 1996, since then they have lost three and drawn one (including a game against Australia in 2010).

- Pakistan have lost just once in their last eight Test matches. 

- Jonny Bairstow is the leading Test run scorer in 2016, scoring 626 at an average of 104.3, the most an England wicketkeeper has ever scored in a calendar year is 777 (Matt Prior 2012).