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Pakistan team sans Akmal brothers — a rare instance indeed!

Published Jan 13, 2013 12:09pm


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Umar and Kamran Akmal. -File photo

ONE cannot remember the last time a Pakistan cricket team took the field in the three formats without at least one of the Akmal brothers in the playing XI. The squad announced the other evening for the South Africa Test leg features none of the three brothers — Kamran, Adnan and Umar. The non-consideration of both Kamran and Umar was unsurprising because they no longer feature in the Test side.

But middle brother Adnan was expected to carry on in the longer format on the forthcoming tour following a decent run since his promising entry as the wicket-keeper/batsman during the last Test series Pakistan played against the Proteas in the United Arab Emirates towards the end of 2010.

Adnan’s track record (440 runs and 55 dismissals in 16 Tests) definitely merited his selection, particularly with Misbah-ul-Haq being his biggest supporter. The Pakistan captain has felt at ease with his departmental team-mate — since both turn out for Sui Northern Gas Pipelines Limited in the domestic competitions — behind the stumps. But the selectors this time have put their weight behind the in-and-out Sarfraz Ahmed on what is going to be a gruelling tour.

Sarfraz, who captained Pakistan to Under-19 World Cup glory in 2006, has generally remained in the shadow of both Kamran, who celebrates his 31st birthday on Sunday (today) and Adnan for a long time. In fact, Sarfraz made his Test debut ahead of Adnan in 2010 when he was sent on SOS call for the dead rubber fixture against the Aussies in Hobart after Kamran’s infamous howlers in the preceding Test in Sydney had tested the patience of his team-mates on that disastrous trip Down Under.

Widely regarded as the better wicket-keeper by many cynics, Sarfraz is bound to face intense scrutiny when he takes his position behind the timber in the opening Test at the Wanderers in Johannesburg on Feb 1. A determined character, Sarfraz is amply capable of justifying his selection provided he controls the emotions and the pains he had to endure during his time on the sidelines when Adnan was preferred over him.

Umar Akmal, touted as a batsman of rare brilliance when he started playing first-class cricket in the autumn of 2007, should consider himself extremely fortunate to be still playing at international level. The youngest Akmal has sadly flattered to deceive on many occasions. Some 15 months ago, Mohsin Khan — then the chairman of selectors — made the right call by overlooking him for Test selection after Umar continuously repeated his reckless approach at the crease. It was a move aimed at making the youngster a more disciplined player in all forms of the game, but Umar, apparently, is in no mood to change his egocentric ways as we all saw during the recent limited-overs tour of India.

While most of the South Africa-bound members more or less picked themselves on merit, the fast-tracking of pace-bowling sensation Ehsan Adil is a very bold move keeping in mind that he is still in the middle of his maiden season of first-class cricket. The elevation of Mohammad Irfan is also not without risks since the gangling left-arm paceman is seldom used to bowling long spells in first-class tournaments.

The most remarkable selection is that of the prodigious left-handed batsman Haris Sohail who has now graduated from one form to another without even getting a chance to prove himself on the international stage. He was first selected in the Twenty20 squad for the Sri Lanka tour last June and then picked in the ODI squad for the Indian trip.

Faisal Iqbal, the ever-willing ‘fringe’ batsman also makes a comeback of sorts despite not getting a decent run in the past. Nobody has been made to wait for this long and Faisal, who is still only 31, deserve consistent opportunities to show his mettle.

It is an irony that both Faisal and Misbah made their Test debut together at Auckland against New Zealand in Mach 2001 and over the years have gone in different directions. That’s how Pakistan cricket operates!


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Comments (38) Closed

Karachi Wala Jan 13, 2013 07:04pm
Right decision to leave Akmal brothers out until they stop taking their selection for granted. I am not sure about Sarfraz's selection, as he does not seem be good enough to bat at number 7. Number seven spot is for an allrounder, be a bowling or wicket keeping. I have watched him batting many times and his technique does not hold much promise either. Someone who bats at number 7 should have a batting average of atleast in the thirties without compromising on his job number one which is keeping the wickets. Pakistan need to invest in atleast two or three young wicketkeeper batsmen who should be dependable in front and behind the wickets on regular basis.
Shahid Jan 13, 2013 07:03pm
Thank God for merit selection
haris Jan 14, 2013 12:22pm
Oh Haroon! You are Right. If Pakistan fail miserably then, may be Kamran Akmal assume Captaincy from Misbah and then they will surely rein upon us for years to come. I am Sad again :-(
s Jan 15, 2013 03:36am
I am a indian Fan and from a outsiders view, umr akmal should not play tests or one dayers. He gives his wicket too cheaply, recent tour of india showed that the 3rd one dayer pak could have won easily, but umar wanted to slog six when run rate needed was 3
Asad Jan 15, 2013 01:47am
All of them were born in Junagadh gujerat India.Get your facts right!
Asif Jan 14, 2013 04:24pm
You are correct, Akmal brother's will be playing this game from the sidelines as match fixers. They need to make money too. Also, they must be feeling a sigh of relief for facing those real fast bowlers on the real bouncy pitches. I think it will be more of a pakistan bowling vs. south africa batting match then anything else.
Ahmed Jan 14, 2013 04:24pm
Totally Agree. They are more interesting in lobbying for places of their brothers than playing cricket. Umar Akmal showed clearly extremely selfish approach when denied a single in second T20 before getting out next ball.
Ali Jan 13, 2013 09:57pm
Thanks God finally. The BEST decision ever by Cricket Board. Hope the other two ' SIFARSHI' cricketers, Imran Farhat (his Father in Law is in PCB Management) and Sohail Tanveer (strong sifarish from PPP senior Minister) will also be thrown out of team soon
Ram Jan 13, 2013 06:53pm
striking 3 at a time!!...They are not as bad... Previously...Hanif... Mushtaq....Sadiq and Wazir ....great brothers of team. Born at wrong place
sali Jan 13, 2013 09:33pm
Almost a perfect squad. One can argue that there are better replacement for Sarfraz and Faisa. Nothing great has come out of their past stints.
Riz - US Jan 13, 2013 09:36pm
Great decision taken by the selectors for S African tour. Not sure why people have such a soft corner for U Akmal as he is an inconsistent performer at the international level and extremely highly overrated. I wish Men in Green all the very best for the tour. Only suggestion to the MiG to stay focused on cricket rather than getting trapped in media and the match fixers. Anxiously waiting to see the new comers performing at the highest level.
Ali Jan 13, 2013 05:44pm
Putting 3 brothers in the top order makes playing cricket either a genetic trait or super power generated by the family connections. Can anyone mention a single instance where Umer Akmal got the team out of trouble or had a winning performance in the recent past?
Asif Jan 14, 2013 04:18pm
Well Oz, if we do not give a chance to this poor guy, how would he prove his worth. How many chances we have given to Imran Farhat, Kamran Akmal, taufeq umar to name few. so be fair with this guy, who is apparently better keeper than the bunch by international standards needs few consistent chances as well......
Oz Jan 14, 2013 10:41am
What do you mean ?? if there are better performing keepers than him, surely they deserve a chance. Although I have strong reservations over Sarfaraz Ahmed. He has not really shown what he has been bigged up for...
Shakeel Jan 14, 2013 11:38pm
Sarfraz Ahmed should be played all three format. He was never given proper chance. In and Out creates problem. How this board give unlimited chances to Shoab Malik and Kamran Akmal. Sarfraz Ahmed was a captain of winning under 19 team but never has proper chance. Please keep him for at least one year, we will find future captain in his face. Fawad Alam should be in all three formats.
Hyder Jan 14, 2013 10:57pm
Dear sir, Finally Pakistan cricket team has got rid of over rated Akmal brothers. Pakistan should have selected a bowling allrounder like Anwar Ali or Hammad Azam in place of Faisal Iqbal but every tour selectors have to accomodate a compromise player. Regards, Hyder
khurram Jan 14, 2013 08:55am
On a testing tracks in South Africa their skins have saved from acid testing they may back in the squad when on some docile pitches matches been scheduled this is really be ridicoulus
Imran Quraishi Jan 14, 2013 02:46pm
What is the role of Faisal Iqbal in this team. He is a useless batsman who is so timid that even on dead wickets he plays fast bowlers as if he is playing on England wickets and gets out cheaply playing timid shots.Total waste of time to tag him along.
Asif Khasmiri Jan 13, 2013 09:10pm
Excellent decision.. keep them away.
Syed Jan 14, 2013 07:52am
It is a very good lesson for Akmals, If they cannot preform than they should not play
Shabut Jan 14, 2013 07:25am
Leaving Adnan Akmal out does not make any sense and does not server justice with him.
Muddasar Zaman Jan 14, 2013 07:10am
The Akmal Brothers are extremely talented, there is no doubt but they are more interested on off-the-field, dirty politics and run after captaincy. I think its high time to get rid of those as they have been tested for time to time and they failed to prove their cricketing talent. General election is nearing these Akmal Brothers should consider politics as a career :-)
adnan Jan 14, 2013 06:58am
against south africa in the t20 world cup.both the umer's were involved however.i remember a t20 game in which umer akmal played fantastic, against Australia/England i think.
philosopher Jan 14, 2013 06:19am
These brothers have never played for the country, they always play for their own interest. Excellent decision, but I fear that they will come back soon.
Rehan Jan 14, 2013 06:29am
Good Riddance Bad Rubbish .... Akmal bridari have been tormentor of Pakistan Cricket. Finally right move by PCB and I hope it continues ......
kashif Jan 14, 2013 06:25am
Thank God the 'Tooth' brothers are out. 'Sarfraz is bound to face intense scrutiny when he takes his position' I don't understand why there is whirl created around Sarfraz. Why is being taken so cautiously. He far far better player then Kamran Akmal....and he has already rich n health first class record. ..there's no need to over do things for the new star and let him give his Maximum of his potential.
Durrani Jan 14, 2013 09:29am
I think its a very good decision by the PCB for not selecting Akmal brothers. There r so many other deserving players waiting to come in to Pakistan team so they should be given a chance rather than giving them a chance again and again in crucial series.
Haroon Jan 14, 2013 05:23am
Blessing in disguise for Akmal Brothers as Pakistan Team (especially Batsmen at seaming pitches) are not going to do good and on return there would be return of TWO Akmals.....
Haroon Jan 14, 2013 08:28pm
SA tour would be real test of our batsmen, there technique woud be exposed. It makes me laugh that how would Younis and Misbah and co face styen. As usual our bowlers will put their heart and soul only to see our batsmen crumbling. No surprises if scoreline reads 3-0, atleast 2 out of them would be innning defeats. Overrated Mr.Professor would find no place to hide, he has the poorest of techniques. even on dead wickets he frequently pushes the ball and edges fly to third slips. over all would be fun to watch.
Anslem Jan 13, 2013 08:16pm
Umar Akmal is over rated batsman and Kamran has been given too many chances to show his worth as an all rounder in Pakistan team. However, I think Adnan should have been picked for the South Africa tour.
Mohammed Y Ahmed Jan 14, 2013 03:35am
Wicket conditions in South Africa always help fast bowlers and Pakistani batsmen are going to face world's best pace attack comprising of Stein, Morkel, Phillander and Klienveldt. Pakistani batsmen really needs patience to stay on the wicket and choose the right ball to score . Many times in the past they lost concentration even after settling down and played irresponsible and risky shots. South Africans on the other hand are very strong in batting and brilliant in fielding. It is time for the team management to bring in young blood in the playing eleven. Haris Sohail will be a good choice. Good luck to Pakistan Team and 3 cheers for the heroes who beat India in the recently concluded ODI series.
Shams Islam Jan 14, 2013 03:38am
Please stop using these rare words of brilliance for the Akmal's. They are average players and stop comparing them to greats. They will never be greats!
Shahid Jan 14, 2013 01:07am
"Nobody has made to wait so long"? which world are you living in Khalid Khan? Faisal debuted in 2001 and played 5 tests in that year and 4 in 2002 but failed to impress. Again in 2006 and 2007, he played 11 test and failed again. He was given an other chance in 2009 and played 4 matches ending january 2010. He failed again and again even given 26 matches in which he averages 26 which is not much better than some of the prolific tail enders. His 18 ODi had even worse results as here he averages only 22. It is a shame that nepotism is so widely spread in all walks of our life and that supurb writers like your self try to justify it only not to have a bad report with his uncle. If Faisal still needs more chances after 44 international matches then what did Fawad Alam did wrong who any how has a far superior stats than this gentleman. Or why not bring in some young talent like Usman Sallahuddind. I also think that Karachi, my own city should start producing some world class crickters and if not we should not pick boys from Karachi only to have a representation from the city. I will though appriciate choice of Sarfraz as he earns a prolonged chance.
haris Jan 14, 2013 12:03pm
Rightly said! The 2 Unhappy 'Votes' you have received so far, surely came from 2 Akmal's :-))
haris Jan 14, 2013 12:07pm
Whatever, you say or wish the Batsmen will fail miserably again. You will see. And we knew it very well. I am only waiting to see Pakistan's bowling. Fielding has never been our culture and Batting is doomed in past 10 years.
Syed Jan 13, 2013 11:42pm
Finally !!! the IQ levels at PCB are improving !!!
Qasim Jan 14, 2013 02:30am
Don't forget the sifarshi captain!
Capt C M Khan Jan 13, 2013 10:31pm
Somebody must check and let us know. Whenever the Akmals brother played...Pakistan lost from winning positons????