Zalmi coach Mohammad Akram heaps praise on Kings' Mohammad Amir

Updated 04 Mar 2020

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Amir wrecked Peshawar’s hopes with brilliant stats of 4-25 in a man-of-the-match performance. — Dawn/File
Amir wrecked Peshawar’s hopes with brilliant stats of 4-25 in a man-of-the-match performance. — Dawn/File

RAWALPINDI: Peshawar Zalmi head coach ­Moha­mmad Akram heaped praise on Mohammad Amir after the left-arm paceman played a huge role in Karachi Kings’ victory during the HBL Pakistan Super League 2020 fixture here on Monday night.

Amir wrecked Peshawar’s hopes with brilliant analysis of 4-25 in a man-of-the-match performance, which Akram rated one of the best spells he had seen in T20 cricket.

“I thought Amir made the difference with those four wickets. He was unplayable upfront as well at the death. Rarely do we get to see bowling of that class and when produces a performance like that then it is mighty tough for the batting team to release the pressure,” Akram told reporters before a practice session at the Pindi Cricket Stadium on Tuesday.

“I don’t lay fingers on anyone but it wasn’t our day. All credit to Karachi Kings playing very good cricket and they obviously deserved this victory.”

Akram downplayed the absence of regular Peshawar Zalmi Darren Sammy — the official word from the franchise was that the former two-time ICC World Twenty20 Cup-winning captain of the West Indies had been rested — while saying being professionals each and every player is paid to do a decent job.

“Look it doesn’t matter who plays or not. I’ve got 18 players under my charge and each one of them gets paid for playing and that’s why we call them professionals. It is part of cricket if someone is out-of-form and you replace him with someone who is doing well.

“The captain was respectfully told that he should take a break and practice for two days to be considered for the next match [against holders Quetta Gladiators on Thursday].

“There is no doubt in my mind that Darren has been an integral part of the Peshawar Zalmi team and there was no animosity among us [to drop him against Karachi Kings] because it was a professional decision which I had to take as head coach. He understood this very well.

“I’m sure Darren would come back stronger and train as hard as all players in our squad to be considered [for selection]. I don’t understand the buzz around the tweet [of Sammy] that went viral. Players are dropped in other leagues too but nobody beats the bush over them. So what is the fuss about?”

Focusing on the next match after Monday’s six-wicket loss to Karachi, Akram said: “We will be all out to bounce back, Insha’Allah. It’s still long way to go [in the tournament] and we aren’t far off coming good. It is just a matter of putting everything together and clicking as one unit.”

Meanwhile, Peshawar Zalmi owner Javed Afridi, batting mentor Hashim Amla and Sammy are slated to visit the PM House in Islamabad to have an audience with Prime Minister Imran Khan on Wednesday.

Published in Dawn, March 4th, 2020