Umar Akmal – An Unfulfilled Potential – Part Two
Continued from the previous part …
It is about time that the management of the national team makes long-term policies and builds a team for the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015, which is scheduled to be held in Australia and New Zealand jointly. There is no doubt that Umar has to play a massive
role in the future of Pakistan cricket and the think-tanks must allow him the opportunity to bat higher up the order.
Younis Khan and Misbah-ul-Haq bat at number three and four in the batting order. Both of them are one-dimensional batsmen and often break the momentum of the run-rate. It may be ideal for Pakistan to split the two using a stroke-player like Umar.
Pakistan should take the example of Sri Lanka, who are developing Dinesh Chandimal as a quality player and for this reason they have allowed him to bat at number four, which is now paying dividends in limited-overs cricket.
Umar’s record at first-class level is absolutely brilliant and this is the reason why he must be a permanent member of the national team in all the three formats of the game.
The right-handed batsman scored a hundred in his debut Test match against New Zealand in 2009 but since then he has not been that consistent. However, considering the lack of stroke-players in Pakistan’s Test batting line-up, Umar should be consistently
persisted with in Test cricket, which has not been the case in recent past as Asad Shafiq has been given preference over Akmal in the longer version of the sport.
Umar is also hungry to cement his place in the Test team and understands that it is the longer version of the sport, which is the pinnacle for any cricketer. Without performing well in Test cricket, no cricketer can be called ‘world-class’.
Akmal expressed, "Test cricket is where I really want to make my name and that format in which I feel I can achieve the most. I can prove to everyone that I have the skill and temperament to play five-day cricket."
Some of the cricket analysts have been over-critical of Umar’s stroke-play as they need to understand that the young cricketer will never be able to deliver the goods by curbing his natural instinct, which is to go after the bowlers. However, his aggression
must be mixed with the ability to pick the right ball to hit.
One of the positive things about Umar is that he understands his mistakes and knows that he will have to correct them, if he wants to excel at the highest stage of the game. However, quite rightly, he is not ready to change his natural game, which has been
"My approach will always be positive and if I see a bad ball I will always try to hit it to the boundary, but my main objective is to bat according to the team's requirement at that time. Nobody feels worse than I do when I play an irresponsible shot,” he
The need of the hour for the Pakistan team management is to show more confidence on the ability of young Akmal and promote him higher up the order. Secondly, he must be given an extended run in Test cricket, which can be a massive learning curve for any
Umar is the future of Pakistan cricket and it is the job of cricket officials in the country to make sure that he does not become another Imran Nazir and leaves his potential unfilled.
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