Azhar rues sidelining of Umar, Shehzad

Ex-skipper acknowledged the immense talent possessed by two discarded batters

News Desk June 22, 2024


Former Pakistan cricketer Azhar Ali has made noteworthy comments regarding the challenges faced by Umar Akmal and Ahmad Shehzad, who last represented Pakistan in a T20I series against Sri Lanka in 2019.

The series, held at Lahore’s Gaddafi Stadium, ended in a 3-0 victory for Sri Lanka.

During the series, Shehzad scored 4 and 13 in the first and second T20Is respectively, while Akmal faced a tough run, registering back-to-back golden ducks in those matches.

Consequently, both players were benched for the third T20I and have not been part of Pakistan’s squad since.

Speaking on the local news channel, Azhar acknowledged the immense talent possessed by Shehzad and Akmal, stating that they were more gifted than many other players in the team.

However, he pointed out that their potential was never fully realized on the international stage due to various controversies and fitness issues that surrounded them.

“Umar Akmal and Ahmad Shehzad were more talented than the rest of us. They just could not flourish in international cricket like they should have,” Azhar said.

Azhar also expressed his opinion on the management’s role in handling Shehzad and Akmal, suggesting that more support and guidance could have made a difference in their careers.

He questioned whether the management utilized effective methods to help the players overcome their challenges and emphasized the importance of counseling if other issues were identified.

“A bit of the responsibility and blame lies on the management. Did they utilize methods through which Akmal and Shehzad could have gotten better? And if they believed that the two players had other issues, then they should have been counseled,” he concluded.


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