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I don’t think we have any problems with sledging: Misbah-ul-Haq

Misbah-ul-Haq of Pakistan
Misbah-ul-Haq of Pakistan. (Photo by Francois Nel/Getty Images)

Pakistan captain Misbah-ul-Haq feels that sledging won’t be a problem this summer for Pakistan, referring more specifically to for left-arm quick Mohammad Amir after his spot-fixing ban. Amir received a five-year suspension from cricket and three months in jail for accepting bribes for bowling no-balls at Lord’s in 2010.

The Barmy Army and the English fans showed some mercy but the tour of New Zealand was a bit harsh for the 24-year-old. On his first international tour since his ban, Amir taunted by New Zealand public who waved dollar notes at him as he bowled in a one-dayer. Matters turned worse when Wellington ground announcer played a cash register sound effect during one of his spells in a T20I.

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Australia tour which commences in a matter of a couple of days is said to be the toughest of all for Amir since his return. The Aussies have been the worst team to deal. Sledging has been a historic weapon they never hesitate to use and usually no mercy is shown.

Therefore, having a player in the opposition with a tainted reputation gives them the perfect opportunity to exploit and get under the skin of Amir. The stage is set for more crowd hijinks in this week’s first Test after a pool bar was installed at the Gabba for the first time. Misbah said he had also been encouraged by crowd behaviour last month on their Test return to New Zealand.

“I don’t think we have any problems with that (sledging). We thought it could be worse in England and be very difficult for him but the tour went very well for him and most of the crowd was supportive.

“There wasn’t any problems and, even in New Zealand, we didn’t face any problems with Mohammad Amir. He did okay and the crowd was not rash or something like that.”

Even Amir’s teammates didn’t warm to him at first. Mohammad Hafeez and Azhar Ali publicly protested Amir’s return last December to the Pakistan squad. However, tensions have since eased in the Pakistan squad to the extent that Hafeez in January advised security that Kiwi spectators had been jeering Amir.

Amir has revelled in the acceptance, taking 25 wickets in his eight Tests since his international return. And it seems he has also earned back Australia’s respect. Asked if Amir would be sledged, Aussie quick Josh Hazlewood said: “No, I don’t think so – we respect him as a bowler.

“The way he has come back the last six months has been amazing. It’s quite a unique story. No one else has really been in his shoes.(But) we treat him like everybody else. He’s one to watch for us.”

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