KARACHI: Pakistan batsman Umar Akmal, who was dropped from the UAE-bound Test squad, has said that he was working hard to regain his place in the team for cricket’s longest format.
Akmal, who scored a century on his Test debut against New Zealand in 2009, received the first jolt of his career when he was dropped for the series against Sri Lanka after a poor performance in the format.
Pakistan interim coach Mohsin Khan, who headed the selection committee that axed Akmal, said the batsman’s Test performance did not justify his talent and added that he needed to play bigger innings.
“We’ve given him a clear message to go and play domestic cricket and learn to play big innings. Learn to turn your thirties and forties into hundreds for the team. Stop being selfish,” said Mohsin.
Akaml, who has scored 1,003 runs in 16 Tests, is mindful of the warning and said that he was using the ongoing Quaid-i-Azam Trophy to help him remove glitches.
“I’m fit for the longer version,” said Akmal. “I’m working hard so that I can remove the tag of being suitable only to the limited-overs format.
“Players like [Kevin] Pietersen, [Virender] Sehwag and Yuvraj [Singh] play according to their natural style and I do that too.
“But now I’m trying to change it and play according to the situation. I’m getting help from my coaches and Basit Ali and this will help me immensely.”
‘I’m not disappointed’
Akmal, however, said he was not disappointed on being snubbed from the Test squad. “I’m not disappointed. Every cricketer goes through this phase. I’m very lucky to have a chance to play domestic cricket and I’m taking it as an opportunity to improve.”
The batsman, who is leading SNGPL, has scored 165 and 95 in the first two matches.
Akmal shows desire to play the IPL
Meanwhile, the batsman expressed his desire to play in the Indian Premier League. “If I am invited and get the permission to play in the league then why not? It is a huge event and will give useful experience to me.”
Published in The Express Tribune, October 18th, 2011.
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