ISLAMABAD - Fast bowler M Aamir has said that a return to international cricket is not his focus at present and insisted that domestic cricket will be his top priority in the months ahead. "My focus is on domestic cricket at the moment and it would be premature for me to start thinking about when or if I will play for Pakistan again", Aamir was quoted as saying by PakPassion.net.

"I'm not worrying over when I will play for Pakistan, instead I am just focusing on my domestic form and then leaving the rest to the selectors," added Aamir, who recently made a return to competitive cricket after serving out a ban for his role in spot-fixing during Pakistan's tour to England in 2010.

"I have to take things step by step and not try to get ahead of myself. International cricket is a tough environment it's not a joke. There is a lot of pressure on you in international cricket and I feel that I have to ensure that I am fully ready before I'm talked about for an international recall."

The 23-year-old in a recent Quaid-e-Azam qualifying match, took seven wickets for Sui Southern Gas Company against Zarai Taraqiati Bank Limited. He said he was satisfied with his seven-wicket haul against ZTBL in his first four-day match after the ban." "It couldn't have gone any better really on a very flat track. I feel as if day by day, my bowling is improving. As you will have seen in the tournament in Rawalpindi my pace is increasing and my confidence is higher now so the signs are very good," he said.

Aamir believed the four-day matches would be an important assessment of his fitness level and strength. "With fitness comes rhythm and confidence; all three work in tandem. The more cricket I play, the fitter and stronger I feel and that helps me technically and mentally. I'm reaching a very important phase in my comeback soon and that is playing four-day cricket for the first time," he said. "When I play four-day cricket that will be a true test of my levels of fitness and whether I still have the ability to swing the ball both ways. I'm feeling stronger with each match but as I say, playing four-day cricket will be a sterner test of my abilities."

He expressed his gratitude to the International Cricket Council (ICC), Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) and fans saying: "I am really appreciative of the ICC's decision for allowing me the opportunity to return to cricket before my ban was due to end. In addition, I'm also very grateful to the Pakistan Cricket Board for allowing me to play domestic cricket ahead of my ban and to use their facilities at the National Cricket Academy in Lahore." "I can't thank the crowds in Rawalpindi and around Pakistan enough for their overwhelming support wherever I have played. It's a major boost for me and for my confidence," he added.

Aamir also thanked Michael Atherton for his support during his ban for spot-fixing and described his time away from cricket as the lowest he had ever felt. Thanking his support network, Aamir also reserved space for Atherton, the former England captain, who in his role with Sky Sports had interviewed the fast bowler upon his release from prison in 2012. “I’m really appreciative of the ICC’s decision for allowing me the opportunity to return to cricket before my ban was due to end,” Aamir said. He added: “Mike Atherton is someone else whose words and support really gave me a boost and inspired me. I’ve been given a second opportunity. Sometimes in life you don’t get a second chance, but I want to make the most of this second life I have been given. That support was vital at a time when I was at my lowest and I will always be grateful to those people around me who showed me support when I needed it most.”