Mohammad Amir will be the centre of attention during the four-match Test series between England and Pakistan after the infamous spot-fixing scandal of 2010, which led to the pacer being banned from international cricket for five years. However, it is time for the Pakistan seamer to forget the past, and concentrate on his bowling in the first Test match, which is scheduled to start on Thursday at Lord's.
The series also gives Pakistan a chance to take avenge their 3-1 loss in 2010. Even England will be plotting the same after their back-to-back series losses against the Asian team in the UAE in the last two Test series. So, the contest between the two nations is nicely set, with both teams determined to outdo one another.
For this to happen, England will need their big guns like Alastair Cook, Joe Root and Stuart Broad to perform consistently, while Pakistan will want to see Amir, Misbah-Ul-Haq and Younis Khan to shine. Misbah and his Pakistan team are trying to win a first Test series in England since 1996.
Pakistan looked a decent side in their warmup matches against Somerset and Sussex. Azhar Ali impressed with the bat, scoring two tons and Amir was a regular threat with the red cherry.
The respective captains -- Cook and Misbah -- are experienced enough to lead their team to victory, though, surprisingly the 42-year-old Pakistan skipper batsman has never represented his national side on English soil.
The first Test will be of utmost importance for both teams. England, however, will have to do without the services of their key bowler, James Anderson, who has been ruled out of Lord's Test with a shoulder injury. His absence has opened the door for Jake Ball, but Cook will look forward to his frontline bowler Broad, who can be quite effective in English conditions. Broad will also hope for support from Chris Woakes and Steve Finn.
But, talks have already surfaced regarding a possible slow and low track at Lord's, which will not please the home team. Pakistan should not be too worried with it. The last Test series in UAE between the two nations witnessed Wahab Riaz bowl his heart out in tough conditions to shine for Pakistan. And add Amir's pace along with Yasir Shah's guile, they can pose some serious problems to the England batsmen in the first Test.
Cook is aware of the threat Amir possesses, but does not want to take other members of the Pakistan team lightly as well.
"He is a really good bowler so it is going to be a challenge for our top order. There are ten other players and four other bowlers we have to focus on. I think he will pose problems to everyone. Speaking to Tres he said he bowled well but he does not get a wicket every time he bowls a ball so we have to be careful not to build him up in our own minds," UK Telegraph quoted Cook as saying.
Both teams have a strong bowling department, hence, the batsmen will have to show some great determination and class to score runs consistently in the Test series. The performances of the England and Pakistan batsmen could play a big role in deciding the fate of the series.
Where to watch live
The first day of the first Test match between England and Pakistan in Lord's is scheduled to start at 11:00 a.m. local time (3:30 p.m. IST and 6:00 a.m. EST).
The live coverage of England vs Pakistan first Test match in India will be on Star Sports 1 and Star Sports HD 1. The live streaming option will be available on Starsports.com.
UK viewers can tune into Sky Sports 2 and Sky Sports HD 2 to watch England vs Pakistan 1st Test Day 1 live. Watch Sky Sports will stream the match live in UK as well.
Audience in the US can switch to ESPN3 for the live coverage of England vs Pakistan 1st Test Day 1 and stream the same on Watch ESPN.
FoxSports will broadcast England vs Pakistan 1st Test match live in Australia., and live streaming on Foxtel Play.