Mohammad Amir's decision to retire from Test cricket at the age of 27 might have shocked many but Pakistan coach Mickey Arthur was not in the least surprised, saying that it was on the cards as Amir's Test career "was taking a strain on his body". Mickey Arthur also revealed that the left-arm pacer had been speaking to him about retirement for "some time" and that he "reluctantly accepted" Mohammad Amir's decision. "It was on the cards for a long while. Amir had been speaking to me about it with me for some time now. His Test career was taking a strain on his body. It's not about management here. It's about his desire to play Test cricket and the effects it has on his body," Mickey Arthur was quoted as saying by ESPNcricinfo.
"I think Amir's an unbelievable bowler and reluctantly I accepted his decision because that's what he wanted to do and that's what he thought was best for himself. What it does do is give us a white-ball bowler that I think we can get a longer period from," he added.
Amir had missed five years of international cricket after being banned for for his involvement in the spot-fixing scandal in 2010.
Mickey Arthur said that being banned for five years took a toll on the cricketer as he was not equipped to handle the rigours of day-to-day cricket.
"He had five years out of the game, we mustn't forget that. In those five years, he didn't do anything. His body was not up to the rigours of day in, day out Test cricket. We pushed him as much as we could during England and South Africa series because he is such a good bowler whom we wanted during those tours. We've tried everything we possibly could with Amir," Arthur said.
"He could have managed those five years better. He'd be the first one to acknowledge that. But I understand where he was in his whole life, so it was a tough period for him. I understand all that. I've got a very soft spot for Mohammad Amir. As a person and as a cricketer, I admire him greatly. Yes, I am disappointed he won't be playing Test cricket for us. But it was made in the best interests of his white-ball cricket in mind," he added.
Amir had bid adieu to Test cricket on July 26 with immediate effect, saying he wanted to focus on white-ball cricket.
"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," Amir was quoted as saying in a statement of the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB).
The 27-year-old said that he wants to be physically fit as he aims to feature in the ICC T20 World Cup 2020 in Australia.
"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," he had said.
The fast bowler also expressed gratitude to his teammates, opponents, and Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) for providing him with the opportunity to play red-ball cricket.
"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, Amir had said.
"I also want to thank the PCB for providing me with 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," he added.
(With ANI inputs)