New man behind the stumps: Umar Akmal set for 'tough ask'

Published: July 6, 2013
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Umar Akmal has been entrusted with wicketkeeping duties during the upcoming tour for West Indies. PHOTO: FILE AFP

Umar Akmal has been entrusted with wicketkeeping duties during the upcoming tour for West Indies. PHOTO: FILE AFP

Pakistan national team batsman Umar Akmal, who was recalled to the national side for the West Indies tour with the additional responsibilities of keeping the stumps, says it will be a “tough ask,” reported EspnCricInfo.

“I’ve played a lot of cricket for Pakistan as a batsman and to be handed the responsibility of having to also keep wicket is a tough ask.”

But Akmal says he is ready to step outside of his comfort zone.

“Sometimes you have to do things outside your comfort zone in sport and, if the selectors, captain and coach want me to keep wicket then I am prepared to do that and to give it my best shot.”

The eccentric batsman has siblings such as Kamran Akmal who has kept wickets for Pakistan in all formats of the game for the better part of the last decade.  This is the reason why he says he focussed more on his batting than wicketkeeping.

“I’ve always enjoyed batting and fielding,” he says, adding that “bowling and wicketkeeping have never really been in my plans. We had enough wicketkeepers in our household and I was never needed as a keeper when we (Umar, Kamran and Adnan Akmal) practised as youngsters.”

On Thursday, when the teams were announced, coach Dav Whatmore explained the decision to entrust Akmal with the gloves. “Everybody had an opinion that to pick a side that can explore opportunities, we would need a wicketkeeper who is also a full-time batsman.”

“We will be working with Akmal to ensure he gets as much practice as he can to become a player who can fulfill both roles. We have seen this with South Africa, this is also what Rahul Dravid did for India years ago. So we need to understand what we are trying to achieve with this and we have to be patient after giving him a chance.”

For Akmal, missing out on the Champions Trophy was “disappointing” enough to reconsider how he approaches his batting. “The Champions Trophy snub was a kick in the groin. Whilst it was a setback, it also made me think about my approach to batting and the changes I needed to make as a batsman.”

“I think you’ll see a more mature Umar Akmal at the crease on the tour of the Caribbean and in the future. I don’t think there will be a total overhaul of my approach, style and shot selection, but there will be some changes.”

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Reader Comments (10)

  • H Chaudhry
    Jul 6, 2013 - 10:21PM

    Look at bright side, you have chance to cement your place. You other two brothers are gone for good. You may be the last Akmal to play for Pak Team, make it your day.

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  • Jul 6, 2013 - 10:23PM

    Not another Akmal!

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  • Waseem Sarwar
    Jul 6, 2013 - 11:16PM

    He is a sure bet in T20 as you don’t care much about a blunder or two but ODI and Tests are too much for him to start with. Let the oher guy keep the wickets in ODI. It will be awesome to have Umer playing in middle and lower middle order to provide some fire power.

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  • Bharat
    Jul 6, 2013 - 11:21PM

    I like his batting.

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  • maestro
    Jul 6, 2013 - 11:29PM

    I think he needs to given a shot. He is young, aggressive, sometimes too much but you can tell he is playing for his team and country. He just needs to calm down a lil bit. He is a great fielder so no reason he can’t keep and bat at the same time. Best of luck Umar.

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  • PakPower
    Jul 6, 2013 - 11:30PM

    He is a terrific talent, if only he could cap his unwarranted aggression and rash shot selection.

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  • S
    Jul 6, 2013 - 11:48PM

    he is the most stylish batsman we have. give him a chance, if he can overcome himself InshAllah, he can be a world class batsman….

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  • sj
    Jul 7, 2013 - 12:48AM

    I always wished to see him transforming from a young talent into a mature and elegant batsman. He can still achieve it….take the example of Virat Kohli….fine tune your attitude and your r there…

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  • Sinner proselytisers
    Jul 7, 2013 - 9:49AM

    Another compromise.
    Another mistake.
    Isn’t that the nature of problems with Paki cricket ?
    Lack of specialists.

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  • Dr. Asad Sadick, Germany
    Jul 10, 2013 - 2:19PM

    Bad idea. Let him bat and focus on that. It was our batting that let us down. We have a specialist wkt keeper in the squad. If UA has to keep wkts why did we take one specialist keeper. All warped decisions again that are bound to fail. And where is Gul?

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