Mohammad Amir, a left-arm pace bowler, reveres Wasim Akram. Over 2007 and 2008, he also emerged, still improbably young, as a hot pace prospect. Even before he went to England on an U-19 tour, he had been picked out as a special talent by Akram himself at a pace camp he oversaw in Lahore in May 2007. By 2010, he had become the hottest pace bowling prospect around the world - but within months his career was in ruins following charges of spot-fixing.
He began in 2009 with an impressive showing on the domestic circuit, impressing with his whippy pace and swing. He took 55 wickets for National Bank of Pakistan in his debut season, and earned selection to the Pakistan World T20 squad. There he hit the big time, taking over from an out-of-sorts Sohail Tanvir and bowling with pace, accuracy and courage.
He hovered in the high 80mphs, touching even 90 on occasion and was a crucial opening link in Pakistan's title run. He bowled several nerveless final overs and one absolutely crucial opening over, in the final, when he dismissed tournament top-scorer Tillakaratne Dilshan for a five-ball duck, peppering him with quick, short balls. He carried his form over to the ODI version, picking up match-winning figures of 4 for 28 against Sri Lanka in August before turning in consistent spells in the Champions Trophy.
He picked six wickets on Test debut in Sri Lanka. Thereafter, over tours to New Zealand, Australia and England, he matured remarkably, building up his pace and both new-ball and reverse swing. The 2010 tour of England saw the best of him and he became the youngest bowler, at 18, to take 50 Test wickets. But his world crashed around him when he was implicated in a spot-fixing scam in which it was alleged that he had bowled deliberate, pre-planned no-balls in a Test. In February 2011 he was handed a five-year ban following investigations by an ICC tribunal. He pleaded guilty to the charges and was sentenced to six months in prison at Southwark Crown Court.
After his release, Amir frequently expressed his contrition over the incident and co-operated with the ICC in spreading its anti-corruption message. Having been cleared to return to all forms of cricket in September 2015, he made his international comeback the following January, as part of Pakistan's limited-overs squad to New Zealand. On his next international assignment, the 20-over Asia Cup in Dhaka, he made waves once again, rattling India's top order with three wickets in a hostile spell of pace bowling. Amir's reintegration came full circle when he was selected in the Test squad for England later that year, setting up a comeback Test at Lord's, the venue where the spot-fixing scandal had derailed his career six years before.