England v Pakistan Test Betting: Amir return spells danger for England

He's back - Mohammad Amir celebrates after removing Marcus Trescothick
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As Mohammad Amir makes his return from his spot fixing ban, Ralph Ellis says punters will need to look beyond the scandal and focus on the danger the Pakistan pace bowler's talent will present to England this summer...

"England are odds-on at [1.81] to continue their march back up the world rankings by winning at Lord's in the first of a four Test series. But it will be the return of Amir that actually makes Pakistan outstanding value to back at [5.1]."

Six years on, it is the four no-balls which will still be the focus when Mohammad Amir returns to Lord's next week to resume his career as a Test fast bowler.

He has served his time in a young offender's institution, served his five-year ban from all forms of cricket as punishment for his part in a spot fixing scandal. He may have been forgiven by some, but his part in the spot-fixing scandal that soured the 2010 series will not so easily be forgotten.

But as you contemplate the 2016 Test series and where to put your money when England face Pakistan, it might be wiser to forget the four no-balls, and remember the other 169 deliveries that an 18-year-old Amir fired down that day.

In 28 overs (plus one wide) he took his career best figures of six wickets for 84 in a devastating spell that ripped the heart from England's top order. He was the most exhilarating talent to burst onto the international stage in years. The footage says it all.



Full of confidence after thumping Sri Lanka, England are odds-on at [1.81] to continue their march back up the world rankings by winning at Lord's in the first of a four Test series. But it will be the return of Amir that actually makes Pakistan outstanding value to back at [5.1].

Any doubts about whether he could return as the force he once was were dispelled at Taunton yesterday when in his first professional match in England since the scandal he proved he has not lost the devastating late swing that made him so tough to play against, taking 3 for 36 against Somerset.

"On that performance he will cause problems for England," was the verdict of Marcus Trescothick, who lasted just nine balls against him before nicking one that moved at the last moment.

In English conditions - and especially in this wet, humid summer - Amir will be a handful and that isn't good news for Alastair Cook's team. For all their recent successes, the top order remains horribly fragile and will be vulnerable to genuine pace.

Nick Compton's decision to take a break from international cricket leaves at least one place in the top order to be filled. And for all the improvement of Alex Hales, there is still no established opening partnership - in six Tests in 2016 they have only three times put on more than 50.

Pakistan are arriving already with the confidence from having beaten England 2-0 during the series in October and November, and the addition of Amir to their ranks will make them stronger. "He hasn't lost his talent, if anything he has got better," said opener Shan Masood and that should send warning signals.

Amir has so far been kept away from saying anything about his comeback. The group of reporters who went to Taunton yesterday hoping to speak with him left disappointed. But he has started to do his talking with the ball and that might just speak loudest.


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Keep an eye on the cricket section for Ed Hawkins' in-depth betting preview of England v Pakistan

Ralph Ellis,

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