Out-of-favour Pakistan wicket-keeper Kamran Akmal has claimed to have overcome his flaws with the gloves after getting tips from Moin Khan and Rashid Latif and is eyeing a national comeback.
The experienced wicket-keeper failed to retain his place in the side after a dismal show in the World Cup earlier this year. A former vice-captain, Akmal – also a regular in the Pakistan Cricket Board’s (PCB) Category A list for the central contracts – was not only snubbed from the national squad for the tours of West Indies, Ireland and Zimbabwe but was also not given a contract last month.
However, the 29-year old, who has played 53 Tests and 137 One-Day Internationals (ODIs), has remained optimistic and is striving towards making his international return.
‘Moin, Latif helped a lot’
Akmal, who led the NBP to the Cool and Cool Twenty20 tournament title earlier this month, termed his recent trip to Karachi very beneficial, learning from former Pakistan greats Moin and Latif.
“I spent a lot of time in Moin’s academy during my stay in Karachi during the Twenty20 event,” Akmal told The Express Tribune. “He gave me valuable tips which I am following to the core.
“I also had a lot of interaction with Latif and sought his advice on various issues. The tips from both of them were of great value and helped me in removing my wicket-keeping flaws.”
Fitness and weight issues have often cropped up as part of Akmal’s criticism as soon as his performance goes down.
The wicket-keeper, while acknowledging those issues, also confirmed that a renewed focus on fitness was also on the cards.
“I’m doing a lot of work-out and have managed to reduce six to seven kilogrammes. I’ve regained the same level of fitness that I had during my best days,” he said before adding that he was not missing a single moment to bring about an improvement in his performance which has come under heavy criticism.
Akmal hopeful of improved show
The wicket-keeper, who will represent a Lahore side in next month’s season-opening Twenty20 tournament, promised an improved show in the season.
“Hopefully all my hard work will pay-off and people will see major a improvement in my performance in. There is tough competition for a place in the national side and only the best player survives.
“I am hopeful that I will come back strong by proving my wicket-keeping abilities and be able to cement my place.”
M Runs HS Ave SR 100 50 Ct St
Tests 53 2,648 158* 30.8 63.1 6 12 184 22
ODIs 137 2,924 124 27.6 84.3 5 9 136 25
T20Is 38 704 73 23.5 124.6 0 5 17 28
Published in The Express Tribune, August 27th, 2011.