Cricket

Umar Akmal likely to make a come back in National Team

Pakistan’s head coach and chief selector Misbah-ul-Haq has laid down the selection criteria for the national side. Misbah was confirmed as Pakistan men’s national team head coach in all three formats on a three-year contract.

In line with the PCB’s commitment to ensure transparency, accountability and role clarity at all levels, Misbah was also named as the Chairman of Selectors with head coaches of the six first-class Cricket Association sides as his fellow selectors.

Speaking at the National Cricket Academy in Lahore, Misbah said: “Players who give their best in terms of fitness, discipline and performance will get preference in selection for the national side.”

He also insisted that players should seek help of coaches, including him, whenever they face any difficulty.

“Whenever you face any difficulty, get in touch with your coaches including me,” he said. “Also put in the hard yards during training and don’t do practice just for the sake of doing practice.”

Pakistan’s hard-hitting batsman Umar Akmal is again being considered for national selection despite his discipline and fitness issues.

According to sources, Akmal’s fitness was recently assessed in the National Cricket Academy (NCA) in Lahore. Head coach-cum-chief selector Misbah-ul-Haq wants to give Akmal another chance in international cricket and is likely to overlook his fitness issues.

Umar Akmal last featured in series against Australia ahead of Cricket World Cup 2019. (Photo: MICHAEL BRADLEY / AFP / Getty Images)

The 29-year-old was last seen in action during the Pakistan Cup in April. Although, he gave a good account of himself with the bat, but his fitness wasn’t up to the international standards.

Similarly, all-rounder Imad Wasim is again likely to get relaxation in the YoYo test due to ongoing issues with his knee. Imad also skipped the YoYo test before the squad selection for the 2019 International Cricket Council (ICC) World Cup.

It must be noted that the all-rounder recently participated in the Vitality T20 Blast in England, instead of getting his knee treated.

Out-of-favour batsman Umar Akmal has said that he is a changed man and vowed that he would not disappoint if given another chance to represent Pakistan,

“The fans will now find me a changed man,” Akmal is quoted as saying by Daily Express. “I am learning from my mistakes and working hard to improve my batting. I am doing more than an hour of net practice daily.

“I am available for all three formats of Tests, ODIs and T20Is. I assure everyone that I will not disappoint if given an opportunity to represent the country again.”

Akmal had a public falling out with former head coach Mickey Arthur but not that the South African is not in charge anymore, Akmal is hopeful he will be back in the national fold.

“I did not get to represent Pakistan a lot despite brilliant performances but hopefully there will be an improvement in the situation under the new management,” the perennially ‘talented youngster'” said.

Akmal, who has been embroiled in fitness issues all his career, believes a a player’s skills should be put ahead of his fitness.

“I am not denying the importance of methods that gauge fitness but, to me, skills should be given first preference,” he said.

He also backed camp commandant Misbah-ul-Haq to get the head coaching job.

“I have played a lot of cricket with Misbahul Haq. If he is appointed the head coach then the standard of the team’s performance will rise. The batsmen will also get the opportunity to learn from him,” Akmal said.

The 2019-20 domestic season gets underway with the four day first-class Quaid-e-Azam Trophy from September 14 and will end on April 24, 2020. The main three events of the season include, the QeA Trophy, National T20 and Pakistan Cup tournaments, while, QeA Trophy is the first-class competition, National T20 is a Twenty20 event and Pakistan Cup is a 50-over tournament.

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