Being benched is an embarrassment for me: Umar Akmal

Published: January 9, 2013
Umar, despite the critics calling for his sacking from all forms of the game, has vowed to give an improved show in the longest format of the game if he is given a chance to make a comeback against South Africa. PHOTO: AFP

Umar, despite the critics calling for his sacking from all forms of the game, has vowed to give an improved show in the longest format of the game if he is given a chance to make a comeback against South Africa. PHOTO: AFP


Team combination, and not his form and unreliability, was the reason behind his omission from the opening two One-Day Internationals (ODIs) against India, according to Umar Akmal, as the mountain of expectations overwhelmed him in Delhi once again.

Umar was stumped for 25 off 50 balls, jumping down the pitch at a time when the required rate was just over four an over with the tail to follow. Pakistan went on to lose the next four wickets for just 33 runs and lose the match by 10. While Umar tried to justify his earlier omission, he was also content with his performance at Feroz Shah Kotla despite the effect his dismissal had on the result.

“You can’t really call the innings immature or irresponsible,” Umar told The Express Tribune ahead of the team’s departure from Delhi. “I’m trying and working hard to get rid of the aggression but if you look at my performance, you’ll hardly find a couple of matches where I haven’t been able to finish things off. Whenever the team has needed me, I have acted responsibly and taken it past the finish line.”

‘Took positives out of the omission’

Azhar Ali was preferred over Umar in the playing-XI for Chennai and Kolkata but with the former looking uneasy with the conditions and the new playing rules, Umar was drafted into the side. The snub, according to Umar, was embarrassing for him but he opted to look at the positives instead of sulking.

“I sat out after a long time and team combination was the reason why I wasn’t in the playing-XI. I wasn’t dropped. But I opted to take this as a positive sign and gave my effort in the field whenever I was needed as the 12th man.

“It does hurt when you’re not part of the team. It’s also embarrassing after you’re a regular member of the playing-XI and suddenly you find yourself on the bench. But as a professional, you need to perform in every match and not give the selectors or the team management any reason to not pick you for the next match.”

Irresponsibility slammed

Umar’s show in Delhi, however, was slammed by Misbah as well as former players and coaches. The rush of blood and the ‘immaturity’ shown in the middle cost Pakistan the match, according to them, and the captain, in the post-match press conference, looked at bay while trying to describe what went wrong with youngster.


“We’re trying to talk to him and making him realise where he’s going wrong so many times,” Misbah had said earlier. “At this age, you think a big hit will ease the pressure. We’ll have to tell him how to go about pacing the innings and the importance of patience. It’ll be good for his career that he understands the situation while batting and not be rash.”

After scoring 820 runs in his first 20 international innings, Umar has scored just 410 in his last 20 with a highest of 55. Umar scored 855 runs in his maiden domestic season in 2008 – including a 258 and 186* – and followed that up with a century in just his third ODI and a 129 on Test debut in New Zealand in 2009. But with the emergence of Azhar Ali and Asad Shafiq – alongwith the presence of Misbah, Younus Khan and Shoaib Malik – his place in the playing-XI looks uncertain with every swipe of the bat.

Published in The Express Tribune, January 9th, 2013.

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Reader Comments (29)

  • Khan
    Jan 9, 2013 - 1:01AM

    Time for Umar Akmal to be sent back to domestic cricket for a year to learn to play according to the requirements of his team. There are others waiting for the chance to play for the national team.


  • Ammar
    Jan 9, 2013 - 1:13AM

    Misbah is ruining Umar’s Career .. How can you play Azhar and Younis at the same time ?


  • GreenOval
    Jan 9, 2013 - 1:34AM

    Based on your purposeless and clueless batting which has been going on for 3 years, you are very fortunate not to have been benched permanently. You should thank your Akmal name for that. There are better and more deserving players waiting for the opportunity and we hope that moving firward the selectors make some sensible decisions.


  • jj
    Jan 9, 2013 - 1:49AM

    After playing 16 TEST, 71 IOD & 42 T20 U R STILL UNCERTAIN WITH BAT.


  • Blithe
    Jan 9, 2013 - 2:06AM

    Very frankly, he has a mental problem …
    Look at the way he grabs the trophy at each and every ceremony .
    He is the first one to snatch it and pose for photographs ( no matter how insane an innings jd has played ).

    I’m surprised that nobody has taught him any manners ,
    if not his family than at least one if the seniors in the team.


  • Laeeq
    Jan 9, 2013 - 2:40AM

    Hellooo.. There is something called as “Average”.. When displaying graphs you must always compare different years through averages… Since the number of innings is differnt in every year how does the editor expects us to compare ???


  • PakSurzameen
    Jan 9, 2013 - 2:56AM

    Akmal betay, its cricket not hockey. Stop dribbiling!


  • Mirza
    Jan 9, 2013 - 2:59AM

    I distinctly remember in one of these matches the combined score of the two Akmal brothers was one run! While Umar failed but Kamran did not score at all and was out in the most humiliating fashion. Neither has learned to be responsible. Time to give Asad Shafiq a chance.


  • enu
    Jan 9, 2013 - 3:01AM

    in the last 7-8 years, the akmal brothers are arguably the worst thing to happen to Pakistan cricket after the spot fixing fiasco.


  • Hyper Baig
    Jan 9, 2013 - 3:19AM

    I second, third and fourth what BLITHE has just said. I mean he looks so stupid snatching the trophy and all. Regardless of the fact, that he was the cause of the defeat, he should be taught manners. Seems to me a case of dinner being announced at a political party convention. Free for all gee free for all. Every man for himself. Disgraceful Umar Akmal.


  • Bilal
    Jan 9, 2013 - 3:47AM

    Apart from a very irresponsible player, Umar Akmal also has a very poor attitude. He needs to be sent back to first class cricket to work on his game and learn some professionalism.


  • Gen pasha retd
    Jan 9, 2013 - 4:03AM

    Shahid afridi should also be benched


  • salaar
    Jan 9, 2013 - 5:47AM

    Both Akmal brothers should be dropped from the team. Their attitude and performance at the international level is pathetic ! Umar Akmal’s batting is deteriorating with the passage of time.
    There are many others waiting for their turn. Its a shame that we didn’t use our complete bench strength in the 3rd ODI. We had won the series and we should have given chance to the other team members to see how they perform!

    It seems Misbah is scared of giving opportunity to the new team members, just to make them indispensable – this is so disgusting. Wasim Akram used to do the same !

    I think Asad Shafique is more reliable and have a better temperament.


  • Irtiza
    Jan 9, 2013 - 8:29AM

    I was amazed when during last super6 tournament he was compared with Chris Gayle.


  • 3footninja
    Jan 9, 2013 - 11:17AM

    so true!!! he jumps at the trophy like a 2-yr old kid in a candy store. he needs to be sent to school.


  • yasiry2j
    Jan 9, 2013 - 11:32AM

    @Blithe: “Look at the way he grabs the trophy at each and every ceremony “.

    Guess I am not alone to think that way, he really is a child and has some real serious issues.


  • Omer
    Jan 9, 2013 - 11:55AM

    Umar Akmal is simply not a match winner… Infact we have no match winner at all… If Umar is dropped then Afridi would be back again… The PCB has 30 odd players in its list which are shuffled around… The whole Pakistani batting line will well be exposed in the coming tour of South Africa…


  • choptocut
    Jan 9, 2013 - 12:09PM

    there is absolutely NO place for Kamran Akmal, Umar Akmal, Misbah, and Shahid Afridi in the time. They should be given a farewell ASAP.


  • Jan 9, 2013 - 12:26PM

    @”you’ll hardly find a couple of matches where I haven’t been able to finish things off” Umer Akmal could not finish at all 3 times in this Pakistan – India series. Moreover, although Misbah became the favorite scapegoat for WC semifinal defeat against India but Umer Akmal was also the culprit then. There is no doubt that he is a great talent reservoir but if he continues like this then he would waste his talent himself. If I remember correctly, Umer Akmal also complained about his batting order in the past which is not justified imo and he should rather focus on performance. He has also got the negative ability to panic the set batsman on the other crease and getting them run out – as a habit imo – which he needs to completely abandon asap. Pakistan expects this young bright talent to be a source of pride for the country. Just control your attitude and you will have the best of luck, boy!


  • naeem hussain
    Jan 9, 2013 - 2:23PM

    Umer Akmal should never be picked for any form of cricket. He needs to bat with brain and not with emotions. On the other hand I am always surprised when our selectors consider Misbah and Younis Khan for one day cricket. Saddaf Hussain is back with his wonderful performance. He is better bowler than Mohammad Irfan and is tall like Irfan too.


  • Shariq
    Jan 9, 2013 - 2:33PM

    And you Umar Akmal being in the team is an embarrassment for us.


  • Rana
    Jan 9, 2013 - 3:32PM

    Misbah & Kamran Brothers generally have match losing contributions! PCB, please kick out Misbah as early as possible! He is not even worth commenting about!


  • amjad khattak
    Jan 9, 2013 - 6:07PM

    harris sohail is a far better batsman. umar akmal needs to learn keeping if he wants a permanent spot. kamran can do neither.


  • ahsan ul haq
    Jan 9, 2013 - 7:19PM

    well,pak needs a young captain to be trained for world cup 2015,to accomplish that cause senior players misbah,afridi,younis shouldnt be made part of oDi squad,while akmal brothers should be ‘rested’ for infinite time untill they realize the importance of their roles in the team.


  • Pk_Guy
    Jan 9, 2013 - 7:46PM

    Why so much chances to Umer Akmal? There is so much talent out their.


  • Dani
    Jan 9, 2013 - 11:50PM

    He always play for himself not for Pakistan ! must be dropped for SA tour…


  • Kamran Akmal
    Jan 11, 2013 - 3:26AM

    Pleese dont bench my brother ;-)


  • Umer Akmal
    Jan 11, 2013 - 3:27AM

    Thank you bother kamran: I also say – dont bench me please! I am the best in the world.


  • Sohaib
    Jan 11, 2013 - 10:41AM

    Mr. Umer Akmal, Cricket is not a child’s play. You three brothers have destroyed Pakistani cricket. Do you remember which match Pakistan won by the performance of any of your brothers. You all should run a cricket academy at Lahore and earn the money for what you are in the team. There are so many talented domestic cricketers who, if given a chance, can perform much better than all of Akmal brothers.


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