Flamboyant and swashbuckling, Pakistan’s middle order batsman Umar Akmal has spoken up for himself after a recently concluded disappointing World Cup stint.
He expressed his disappointment over his performance in the World Cup.
“I'm disappointed that I could not perform as well as I did in the 2011 World Cup, despite trying my best and giving my all,” said the second of the three Akmal brothers from Lahore who were crowned with Pakistan’s Test cap.
The World Cup campaign was followed by reports about issues regarding the 26-year-old’s attitude and discipline.
Umar, who has featured in 16 Tests for Pakistan, denied the reports of him having issues with former fielding coach Grand Luden.
“I have never had any issues with anyone. I have never had any disagreements with team mates, management or coaching staff,” said Umar in an interview to PakPassion, adding that he used to do whatever was asked of him.
Luden had tendered his resignation during the World Cup.
When asked about his exclusion from the recently concluded Bangladesh tour, the middle order batsman was clueless. “The people in the selection committee are the ones who should be asked why I was dropped as they seem to have all the answers,” he said.
Umar expressed deep distress about reports regarding the public disclosure of his alleged attitude problems.
“It’s heartbreaking to hear such stories,” he said.
The middle order batsman, who has an ODI strike rate of 86.10, put the blame on his batting position for not being a “batsman with attractive numbers”.
“Many times when I go out to bat, there are only a few overs left and I have to take a lot of risk and score very quickly, almost right from ball one. I could have been selfish and finished with a few more not outs, but that's not the way I am. I'm a team player and will not sacrifice the team's interests for my own,” Umar said.
Umar, who debuted for Pakistan in 2009, said he needed to experience at all levels to improve. He also hinted that he might be playing county cricket for Leicestershire in the near future.
The 26-year-old insisted that his selection for the home series against Zimbabwe is purely on merit and believes that his induction was based on his recent performance in domestic and club matches.
“I was also one of the top scorers during the Super 8 Twenty20 tournament in Faisalabad and showed the selectors that I am in good form and can score runs when given the opportunity to,” he added.
Umar hopes to continue his good form and retain a permanent spot in the Pakistan team.
Responding to fans’ disappointment over his consistent poor display of performances, Umar said: “I promise my fans and supporters that whenever I [return to play] for Pakistan you will see a different, more responsible and a better version of me.”
The Lahore-born cricketer is excited about the revival of international cricket in Pakistan.
“The players around the world get a chance to show their skills in front of their home crowd while Pakistani players who made their debut after the [2009 Sri Lanka team attack] were unlucky to not have played any international match at home.
“I can’t wait to walk out in front of the [home] crowd wearing the Greenshirt. I thank the Zimbabwean team for embarking on this tour and hope it’s the start of international cricket returning to Pakistan,” he said.