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“Umar Akmal must learn to finish off games”

January 08, 2013

Javed Miandad instructs Umar Akmal during a training session prior to the World Twenty20 in Sri Lanka. – File photo by AP
Javed Miandad instructs Umar Akmal during a training session prior to the World Twenty20 in Sri Lanka. – File photo by AP

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s middle order batsman Umar Akmal has once again found himself at the receiving end of criticism from former cricket greats of the country, after he failed to lead Pakistan home in third one-day international (ODI) against India.

Umar, who was playing well on 25 during Pakistan’s chase in New Delhi under difficult conditions, was out stumped by MS Dhoni off the bowling of Ravindra Jadeja. At this stage, Pakistan required 43 runs from 64 deliveries to complete a whitewash in the ODI series.

The 22-year-old batsman came under criticism from former captains for his inability to finish the match.

Bowling great Wasim Akram said Umar needed to ponder over his game.

“When will he (Umar) learn to play responsibly? He has been around in international cricket now for a considerable time,” Akram was quoted as saying by website cricketcountry.com.

While the batsman has played 16 Test matches, 71 ODIs and 42 T20 international, he has been going in and out of the national team ever since he made his debut in 2009.

Another former captain Rashid Latif was more forthright in his views about Umar and the match. “I think it is about time Umar is told by the selectors he is not needed in the national team until he changes his approach and attitude towards the game,” he said.

“Umar has to be sent back to domestic cricket until the selectors see a visible change in his approach and attitude. He has got too many opportunities to realise his talent. But he is not finishing games,” Latif added.

While the batsman remains popular among fans for his exhilarating style and exuberance, he is sometimes found guilty of being over-confident, which costs him his wicket and his place in the team.

Former Pakistan captain Moin Khan, who previously made a case for Umar’s promotion in the Pakistan batting order in his column for Dawn.com, also felt that the youngest Akmal sibling Umar was not doing justice to his enormous talent.

“He is talented no doubt about it, but he needs to learn that all this talent is useless until it results in good results for his team. He is just not showing the approach of a finisher which is sad,” Moin said.

How Pakistan’s national selectors deal with the batsman will be revealed in the next two weeks, when the squads for Pakistan’s full (Test, ODI, T20) tour of South Africa are announced.