An agitated Umar Akmal shot back at his critics vociferously after being dropped by his first-class team SNGPL for the ongoing President’s Trophy and vowed to shut them up by scoring “lots” of runs.
In a career that has spanned only a few years Akmal has had to fend off quite a few detractors. But this time it seems the jibes have finally gotten under the skin of the younger Akmal. Being dropped from the Test side and most recently from his domestic outfit has not helped much.
“Runs and lots of them is the only way that I can get people off my back. I know that whatever I do, however many runs I make there will always be people out there who will take cheap shots at me. I would suggest to those people to get off my back, instead support me, give me a chance,” Akmal said in an interview with Pakpassion.net.
There has been much confusion and talk over his domestic axing and SNGPL coach Basit Ali and Akmal have offered two separate reasons for it.
While Basit has categorically said the decision was purely based on the batsman’s form, Akmal has repeatedly claimed it was because he missed several rounds of the President’s Trophy to attend brother Adnan’s wedding, something which was communicated to the SNGPL management, according to player.
“He needs to learn how to bat in the longer-format of the game,” Basit told reporters on the sidelines of the on-going match against Pakistan International Airlines at Gaddafi Stadium. “No doubt he is a great talent but he must sense the nature of the formats and play according to the format. He wasn't in good touch and was asked to play club cricket.”
Akmal felt Basit’s behaviour suggested there was something personal to the whole matter.
“I feel that there has to be a personal issue here regarding my treatment and personal matters should not get in the way of cricket. At first I was liked by Basit Ali, he was very supportive and helped me, but I’ve noticed a change in his behaviour towards me of late. If I’ve made a mistake then tell me what I have done wrong, but don’t mistreat a young cricketer who just wants to do his best for his domestic team and for his country. There are very important series coming up to India and South Africa.”
Akmal’s future at SNGPL remains unclear after this latest episode. Despite reiterating his availability for SNGPL, he stated that he would weigh up his options regarding his future at the end of the season.
“I have made myself available whenever I could for SNGPL, I have had 5 good years here, but this episode has left a bitter taste in my mouth. I feel I have been treated unfairly in this instance but I am available for the team whenever they need me. However, I will sit down at the end of the season and look at what my options are and which teams are interested.”
As far as getting back into contention on the international stage and winning back the ‘critics’, it is quite simple; Akmal will have to perform against India in the upcoming limited-overs series. Traditionally, most Pakistan players have been granted an extended-lease of life after they excel against India.
“People tend to forget that I am only 22, don’t try to ruin my career before it has taken off the ground. I will make mistakes, all young cricketers do, but I know I can be an integral part of the Pakistani batting line up in all three formats if given the chance, but I need backing and I need support and I know I will deliver. I want to put this behind me, start playing first class cricket again and be mentally ready for the challenges in India and South Africa.”