Kamran Akmal’s batting is indispensable to Pakistan - Part 1 - Opinion
Dropping dollies is probably the first flashback that comes to one’s mind when the name ‘Kamran Akmal’ is heard. The 30-year-old from Lahore has drawn considerable criticism from former wicket keepers, fans and experts over his frail wicket keeping skills.
His follies behind the stumps were often inexplicable and inexcusable at the same time, as they intensified to the point of Pakistan losing out on a chance to secure history by beating Australia at Sydney in 2010. Had it been for Akmal to hold on to a few
catches and dislodge the bails when it was needed, Pakistan’s fortunes in that match and the games to come, could have changed. However, it wasn’t to be, and Pakistan had to rue over yet another loss to the Australians from the jaws of defeat.
His poor performances behind the stumps and his considerable lack of improvement was witnessed in New Zealand’s routing of Pakistan as Ross Taylor’s dropped chance acted as a catalyst for a mauling that Pakistan would never forget. That performance, along
with his previous failings, meant that Akmal was parodied on an array of different Pakistani channels. In addition, jokes have been disseminated in the form of text messages and whispered by those have witnessed him err, throughout a cricket mad nation such
as Pakistan. As much as the ignominy belonged to Akmal and Akmal alone, one aspect about his cricket that cannot be denied, is his batting, which oozes with style and class.
Powerful cut shots, driving with ease on the up and a penchant for six hitting when the situation demands, it is what Kamran Akmal has to offer with the bat. His only real weakness comes in the form of tackling the new ball or playing a silly stroke, that
most Pakistani batsmen like him, tend to do at times. Yet with Akmal, what you see is definitely what you get, and not many would forget the role that he played alongside Mohammad Hafeez which ensured that Pakistan got off to flying starts in World Cup encounters
against teams such the West Indies and India. His stroke play is from the Gods, which came in the form of a swashbuckling innings in the quarterfinal encounter against the West Indies at Dhaka. A paltry total of just 112 runs posted by the Windies looked to
be a walk in the park for Akmal and his partner, as the total was chased down with brute force by Pakistan. Yet contrary to popular belief, and in stark contrast to his contemporaries, Kamran exhibits a prudent approach towards batting, where the decision
to play an expansive shot is resorted to, when needed the most. When he does resort to playing an expansive shot, he is one of the cleanest strikers of the ball, and understandably, numerous match winning accolades have come his way.
Another factor about Kamran Akmal’s batting which cannot be overlooked is his versatility and ability to bat in almost any position, at any time - making him a utility player. Many batsmen in his team have often lacked the temperament to perform with assurance,
and guide their team out of precarious situations. For Akmal however, guiding the team out of trouble comes naturally.
Continued in part 2...
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