Tuesday, January 22, 2008

A Dilemma Called Kamran Akmal

He took an amazing catch diving to his right off Sohail Tanvir and effected a brilliant stumping off Shoaib Malik where he caught Brendon Taylor out of his crease by millimeters in a matter of mini seconds. What Kamran Akmal did yesterday behind the stumps would have made the Gilchrists and Bouchers of the world proud.

However, before this series, his place in the team was in doubt. His form behind the stumps in the recent past has been below par. He has dropped, fumbled, and done everything that a wicketkeeper should not do. Sarfraz Ahmed was called up to join the squad in India and he's a part of the current squad as well as an 'understudy'. Kamran was also expected to sit out this series with Sarfraz getting more chances but someone in the team management / selection committee has a lot of faith in him.

Now I come to the part where I explain why he is a dilemma.

Kamran's test career is 5 years old. In that time span he has knocked 5 centuries, which is more than what any Pakistani wicketkeeper has managed in his career. Moreover, each one his 5 test 100s has been one that has either saved the match for Pakistan or won it for them. No Pakistani wicketkeeper has played match winning roles for them in the past. Kamran's test average is higher than Rashid Latif's and Moin Khan's - Pakistan's best wicketkeepers of the 90s. The case is exactly the same in ODIs -more 100s than any other Paki stumper and a higher average than the best from the 90s.

So we all know that he is a capable batsman but does he warrant a place in the XI solely based on his batting? Definitely not.

Lets move on to his weaker trait - wicket keeping. I compared his stats to some of the best from Pakistan. Have a look.

I was surprised that Kamran's record behind the stumps in tests is better than the best Pakistan has produced. Including Wasim Bari. However, In the ODIs his record is the worst among the ones compared.

I know Kamran Akmal is no Gilchrist, Boucher, Sangakkara, or Dhoni with the bat or the gloves. But for Pakistan he is pretty damn good. So why is everyone, including me, after his neck?

Maybe we don't like his teeth or his smile. Or maybe we don't like his screeching voice everytime he screams out to a fielder, which is as irritating as someone scratching the blackboard with their nails.

Whats your reason for dropping Kamran Akmal XI?

Make your pitch on this post...

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11 Pitched:

  1. NAzhar said...

    Great article and analysis. I think Kamran is Pakistan's most talented wicketkeeper batsman - no doubt there.

    I just think he has dropped too many catches, catches which were easy and also immensely important. They really need to keep stats on dropped catches because I think that is an important stat as far as judging wicketkeeping abilities.

  2. Q said...

    Tayyab once asked me if Kamran had created a world record for most dropped catches. I searched and searched but couldn't find any stats.

    That is definitey a good point to judge keepers on how many dropped.

    But what surprises me is that Kamran's record is better than Rashid's and Moin's especially when both of them kept wicket to far superior bowlers in Wasim, Waqar, Aqib, Shoaib, Razzak, Mushtaq Ahmed, Saqlain, etc...Definitely these bowlers generated more edges than Asif, Gul and Co. do today. So if Kamran's record is better does that mean Rashid and Moin dropped as many chances as Kamran? I certainly don't think so. I know Moin had a some bad matches on a trot but Rashid was always brilliant.

    The only other explanation is that today's bowlers generate more edges to the keeper than yesteryears. Maybe its true since Wasim and Waqar got a lot more wickets bowled or leg before.

    Haha..I was thinking while riting as is obvious up there :-)

  3. Cricket Guru said...

    A good keeper, like an umpire, should never get noticed. Unfortunately, Kamran Akmal has been on front pages as much for his great batting as for his missed chances.

    He went into the England series in 2006 as one of the best wicket keeper batsman, that time. At the end of it though, things turned upside down. Since then he has been in news, mostly for wrong reasons, his recent batting in India notwithstanding.

    Sometimes I wonder, why the current players are shy of approaching the past greats. Correct me, but I haven't read of Akmal approaching Wasim Bari or Rashid Latiff for guidance to sort out his techincal flaws in wicket keeping.

    It would be real shame if a player of his talent does not live up to his potential.

    Good blog, btw.

  4. Ottayan said...

    He scores centuries against India.
    Dont like him for that.Drop him Isay!

  5. Q said...

    Haha, good one Ottayan ;-)

    Cricket Guru - Thanks. I agree that Kamran had his worst time keeping wickets in England and its been downhill since. England is a difficult place to keep wickets and many keepers have had problems there, e.g. Dhoni last summer.

    After that series Kamran probably took the pressure too much and his performance went from bad to worse.

    As for guidance - I do know that Kamran spent some time at Rashid Latif's academy but that was much earlier in his career around 2003-04. Not recently though.

  6. Soulberry said...

    I don't have any reason for I'm not dropping him. You know my views on Akmal. No harm in keeping an understudy close at hand for that appears to spur him on.

    I felt his batting form and keeping form wree intertwined...a confidence thing which began going downhill England onwards. He's coming out of it this season.

    I'd keep him in.

  7. Q said...

    I think I'm changing my view and agreeing with u on this SB. His performance behind the stumps on the 1st ODI made me think, hence the post. Generally I am no that critical of even the worst performers but for some reason Kamran Akmal was really bugging me. I still can't make out if it was his cricket or his voice ;-)

  8. NAzhar said...

    I agree that Kamran should be in the team for the moment. However, he needs to see some competition and this series against Zimbabwae would have been a perfect opportunity to let Safraz have a go.

    The 2 W's were just awesome - they did not need wicket keepers to get their wickets - plus they did not stand for as many overs as Kamran does because of Pakistan's mediocre bowling now!

  9. Uncle J rod said...

    I always assumed he was in the side because of how pretty he is.

  10. Usman said...

    Well you are right about how he is a better batsman then any other keeper we had before.
    The thing about analyzing his performance behdind the stumps is different. We had Wasim and Waqar who used to get more lbws and bowled then having a snick to the wicket keeper. That is why they had less catches. Now with mohammad asif and umar gul trying to get the nick, we need someone like rashid latif who can catch and dive to miles. If you only want a batsman as a keeper then i say go for yasir hameed. he can keep behind the wicked yet he is better batsman.. so what we have to decide is who do we need, keeper or the batsman. If we need a keeper then kamran akmal is not the right choice, even though i like him but sorry to say it we need a better keeper.

  11. Q said...

    Thats true Usman. We discussed how in the Wasim-Waqar time there were fewer catches on offer behind the stumps..and that is probably the only explanation why Moin and Rashid did not take as many catches.

    I guess its a difficult decision to make when u have to choose between a keeper who bats very well but doesnt keep as well as a keeper who doesnt bat that well.

    What do u do?

    Find a gilchrist i presume :-)

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