HYDERABAD: Pakistan’s discarded wicket-keeper batsman Kamran Akmal, dejected at being constantly ignored by the national selectors, has urged the patron of the Pakistan Cricket Board, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to allow him a chance to present his case as he deserves selection on the basis of his consistent performance in the domestic season.
“I strongly feel that I am being ignored even after so many good performances in domestic cricket,” said Kamran while talking to Dawn a day after his team Wapda reached the final of the Qauid-i-Azam Trophy here on Wednesday. “I want the selectors to be consider me purely as a batsman as I realise fully well that Sarfraz Ahmed is performing outstandingly as wicketkeeper.”
“I therefore appeal to the PM to hear me out and ask the selectors to consider my case on merit.”
“For a batsman, the only way to make a comeback is his performance and I have been doing that by scoring a lot of runs to merit selection”, he said. “I had met PCB COO Subhan Ahmed before coming to Hyderabad and now awaiting a call from PCB. Lets see what they say.
“Those who don’t perform must be dropped from the national team. I don’t want to name those players, the selectors know who they are but they are being persisted with,” he argued.
Kamran said there are quite a few batsmen besides him who are also performing well but are still being ignored for national selection. “Not just me but talented players like Usman Salahuddin and Asif Zakir have been playing outstandingly for a few seasons now and must be given a chance to represent the country.”
He recalled how PCB chairman Shaharyar Khan had told him to perform on the domestic circuit and get selected. “I don’t know what else performance is.This is the third consecutive season that I have piled up the runs but perhaps I lack the right kind of contacts or political connections to get into the national team,” he said in a candid comment.
He said it is a wrong premise to rule him out on grounds that he has been playing for 14 successive years now. “Look at Mark Boucher who played 150 matches without a break, and so did Alec Stewart, A.B de Villiers, Stewart and our own Moin Khan who all played for a long time. And their splendid performances benefited their team,” said Kamran. “If anyone is performing then there is no reason to discard that player.”
“Look at Misbahul Haq, he is performing so well at 42 and is the backbone of the team, so age or experience should never matter,” he added. “I repeat I perhaps lack support of some politician, who will get him inducted [in team]”, he said. “Three of us brothers have served Pakistan but unfortunately, even Adnan Akmal has been out of favour since he got injured two years ago.”
Commenting on reports that he is paying the rice for his close friendship with Shahid Afridi, Kamran said: “There are 14 other players who play with Afridi. It doesn’t signify any grouping if some players stay together or enjoy each other’s company. Why should the PCB or any one else hold this against any player, we are all Pakistan players after all.”
Following the national team’s poor show in New Zealand, Kamran feared that more shocks were in store for it. “We must improve batting pitches here in Pakistan and the PCB should also make efforts to shift our ‘home’ series from the UAE where the playing surfaces and conditions are dull and that is damaging our cricket,” he stressed.
He said that “are we preparing pitches for few batsmen”, he said. He emphasised need for shifting venue of home series from UAE to some other country or change in surface in UAE. “I think we have to play positive cricket”, he opined.
“Former coach Waqar Younis knew well that batsmen friendly pitches in the UAE are harming our cricket but surprisingly never advised the Board to shift venue.”
In the end, Kamran said that Pakistan have a good of beating Australia in Australia and must focus on winning the series. “Australia has only Warner and Smith who are good players and we can get their scalps early in Tests, there is a good chance of victory for Pakistan.”