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Mohammad Amir believes Virat Kohli’s wicket will be the key

The Virat Kohli vs Mohammad Amir battle will be a one to watch out for.

Mohammad Amir of Pakistan
Mohammad Amir of Pakistan. (Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images)

Pakistan fast bowler Mohammad Amir is likely to be fit for selection for the Champions Trophy final against India on Sunday, after completing an entire training session at The Oval on Friday. Amir was ruled out of the semi-final against England on June 14 due to a back spasm after he failed a fitness test right before the toss at the Sophia Gardens in Cardiff on Wednesday.

In the semi-final, Amir was replaced by Rumman Raees, another left-arm fast bowler who made his ODI debut in the match. He shared the new ball with Junaid Khan and took 2 for 44 resulting in Pakistan’s eight-wicket victory. Azhar Mahmood, Pakistan’s bowling coach, said Amir was fit but did not comment on whether the bowler would play the final. “Amir bowled today. Amir is fit,” Mahmood said on Friday. “We have not decided about (playing him).”

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Amir has almost been a constant in the Pakistan XI since his return to international cricket at the start of 2016, playing 47 out of the side’s 57 international matches, across formats, in this period. Though he has not yet been at his fiery best with ordinary figures of 2 for 135 from three games – Amir will be a sure-shot starter in the playing eleven in the high-octane Champions Trophy final against arch-rival India on June 18.

Who will sit out?

Who exactly will make way for him among Raees or 18-year-old Shadab Khan is something that skipper Sarfraz Ahmed and coach Mickey Arthur are yet to disclose. This will be the side’s first Champions Trophy final in the history of the tournament. Team administration confirmed the news of Amir’s participation in the final match against title-holders India at the Kennington Oval on Sunday, the Dawn reported.

The skippers of both sides are leading their respective sides in an ICC tournament for the first time. While Sarfraz Ahmed has a point to prove to the world after remarks made by critics in the India-Pakistan match in the group stage, Virat Kohli had the added pressure of leading from the front and defending the title. Reflecting on that, Amir said that Virat will be under pressure in his first big tournament final as captain and his wicket will be vital.

“The Indian team relies on Virat Kohli. He will be under pressure because it’s his first big tournament final as a captain. There’s no doubt that his wicket will give us advantage,” Amir said.

“Getting the top three Indian batsmen early on will be crucial,” he added.

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