Pakistani all-rounder Umar Akmal, who has not played Test cricket for Pakistan for almost six years, still has not given up hopes of playing for his country in the five-day format of the game.
He believes that his style of play is in sync with the modern demands of Test cricket. Akmal also asked the national selectors to the reason for leaving him out of the Test team because of his tendency towards an aggressive brand of cricket.
Akmal is currently playing for Lahore Qalandars in the Pakistan Super League. He told the Reporters, “I still wonder what I did wrong and where I went wrong to be dropped from Test side. They only dropped me saying that I am not suitable for Test cricket because I don’t hold back, which is required in Tests.”
The all-rounder further added on this, “But the approach to playing Test cricket has changed over the years. Now teams score 350 or so in one day and match hardly go on the fifth day. I was playing the very same brand of cricket, which was actually evolving at that time, but I was dropped because I play fast and not the conventional way. Was that my mistake? If so, then the whole world has now adopted this modern form of cricket in Tests as well.”
Akmal played the last Test for Pakistan in September 2011 and has scored 1003 runs in 16 Tests at an average of 35.82. He was part of the ODI squad for the series against Australia, which won 1-4 by the hosts. Since the 2015 World Cup, this was his first ODI for Pakistan.
In the Australia ODI series, Akmal did not perform very well scored only 131 runs at an average of 32.75 with the highest score of 46. Though, Akmal maximum time came in at No. 6 batting position while only one ODI he bats at the No. 5. According to the batting position he could manage just 17, 18 not out, 39, 11 and 46 in the five ODIs in the series.
Akmal said that his score came according to the situation, which demanded him to go for the shots. He stated, “If I am asked to score ten per over then what you expect from me? Should I play for myself, score at five, and let the run rate mount on my team? No, I rather go out, play big, and try to achieve my team’s requirement. And we all know where I play, at which number.”
He added, “People often compare me with other batsmen but why don’t people realize that the number I bat at is critical and there is the burden of extra responsibility. I still try to help my team out of pressure situations by pushing back the opponent, but sometimes I am not able to do so. But my intentions are clear that I want to play for my team according to the requirement and will play my shots.”
Akmal has not been in Pakistan’s scheme of things with Pakistan Cricket Board, which reason is the fitness of Umar. He said, “If you talk with different players around the world, some are slightly bulky and some are smart in physique, but that doesn’t mean weight defines their actual fitness. I don’t remember going off the field in a game or conceding the second run. I am energetic in the field and my running between the wickets is fine as well.”
“So what exactly do you expect from me? To be smart and thin, why? I can quote you many examples in which those players are theoretically fit but cannot even clear the circle. I have a natural body and if I try to reduce it I may lose my strength for power hitting.”