After an absence of a long time, Umar Akmal and Ahmed Shahzad made a comeback in Twenty20 international cricket but both failed to perform.
Playing against Sri Lanka at the Gaddafi stadium in Lahore on Saturday, Akmal left his fans disappointed once again and they witnessed him being dismissed off the very first ball coming to the crease one wicket down. Akmal was trapped leg before the wicket off right-arm medium pacer Nuwan Pradeep’s first delivery.
Ahmed Shahzad, who also returned to the national team, was dismissed for a paltry 4 runs after facing just 9 deliveries at the crease. Shehzad was bowled out on an inside edge facing Sri Lanka’s Isuru Udana.
Umar Akmal last played a T20 for Pakistan three years ago, while Shehzad featured in T20Is last year before he was banned for a positive dope test.
Both of them made their debuts 10 years ago and though they have made several comebacks. Umar Akmal has an experience of playing 83 T20I matches and Ahmed Shahzad has an experience of playing 58 T20I matches.
Pakistan cricket team Head Coach and Chief Selector Misbah-ul-Haq and captain Sarfaraz Ahmed came out in support of returning batsmen Ahmed Shehzad and Umar Akmal.
Misbah-ul-Haq on Sunday said that it takes a little time for a player not playing international cricket for long to settle.
He made it clear that a player cannot be dropped from the team citing his one match performance, adding that it takes time for someone who hasn’t played international cricket for so long.
“We have prepared a complete plan regarding the team,” he added.
The head coach said that Umar Akmal and Ahmed Shahzad have been given chance to play international cricket because of their performance in PSL.
He further said that the whole team failed to perform in the first match.
The Men in Green’s skipper also backed Umar Akmal and Ahmed Shehzad to come good in future matches.
If you talk about previous two [domestic] seasons, they were performers and they were again performers in the PSL, said Sarfaraz,
“We are trying our fullest to give a complete chance to those who are brought back. There is nothing to worry. Both are experienced players and once they settle in, they will perform. So [I give] my full backing for them as a captain.”
“Fakhar and Harris both have been part of the team for some time now,” Sarfaraz added.
“When we brought back Ahmed and Umar, we intended to make them play in their own positions. Had we played Fakhar, then Ahmed would have been made to play at one down. Me and [coach] Misbah bhai decided to try Ahmed as an opener. With our eyes on the World Cup, if Ahmed is able to settle himself at this [opening] number, we can never find a better player like him,” he further said.
“Similar with Umar Akmal. We wanted to play him in his number and hence had to drop Harris, who we have seen and have no doubt about his ability. We played six new players in the side without thinking about winning or losing. We wanted to play them and give them confidence because for any player, making a comeback isn’t really easy. You do come with performance in domestic but at the international level you take a few innings to get going.”