Basit Ali has hit out at the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) for promoting Umar Akmal to a Category A contract, despite the batsman’s inexperience and inability to deliver a consistent performance.
Akmal, despite being omitted from the Test squad that will take on Sri Lanka later this month, was elevated from Category B when the central contracts were announced last week.
“Umar is an exceptional talent but he has failed to do justice to it and that’s why I think the PCB shouldn’t have given him a Category A contract,” Basit told The Express Tribune.
“He shouldn’t be given everything because he won’t learn from his mistakes that way. The PCB should’ve kept him where he was and told him to improve his show because that’s what is expected of him.”
Basit was Umar coach at SNGPL, the youngster’s domestic side which he helped clinch the Quaid Trophy in his debut first-class season, and even scolded him for playing unnecessary shots after being dropped from the Test squad last year.
The 41-year-old, who has also served as a national junior selector in the past, said that although Umar apologised for his mistakes, more often then not he would repeat those, hampering his progress as a batsman.
“Umar is of the same calibre as Virat Kohli but look where the two players stand today.
“Kohli has taken huge strides, being one of the best batsmen in the world.”
Basit also stressed that Umar should bat regularly at number four, starting with the One-Day Internationals and against Sri Lanka so that he is able to get a big innings under his belt. Basit also hoped that Umar will emerge from the mini slump to perform consistently against Sri Lanka and become the go-to guy for the team.
“I hope he plays like a man and not a boy who gets carried away and doesn’t play according to the situation. In my opinion, he doesn’t like being in the middle for long and that’s where he needs to improve.”
Published in The Express Tribune, June 2nd, 2012.
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