Tuesday, April 30, 2013

What did Umar Akmal do Wrong?

He missed a few matches for SNGPL in October-November due to his brother's wedding without notifying the team management that included Misbah, Hafeez, and coach Basit Ali, and that resulted in his exclusion from the domestic team.

That's one story doing the rounds.

He had a clash with the SNGPL management and has since then been in Misbah's bad books.

That is another story doing the rounds.

Doesn't matter, which one is true but once again Pakistan cricket has presented yet another case of mismanagement of talent.

How many talented players is Pakistan going to waste because they don't have good man managers?

I agree that talent and flair is not enough to keep someone in the team, but Umar Akmal is a lot more than that.

For starters, Umar Akmal is the highest ranked Pakistani batsman in the ICC Rankings for ODI Batsmen. Not only that, but besides Misbah, Umar is the only Pakistani batsmen in the Top 20. ICC Rankings don't lie and the biggest factor that adds to your ranking is consistency.

Secondly, Umar Akmal is Pakistan's 3rd highest run scorer in ODIs since January 2011. Only Misbah and Hafeez have scored more runs than him during this period of over two years, but they have also played almost double the number of innings that Umar has.

Not only that, but Umar Akmal is among the top 20 run scorers in ODIs since January 2011.

Who else has performed that well for Pakistan in ODI cricket?

Not only has he done well for Pakistan, Umar has been their most consistent batsman in ICC events including the World Cup and World Twenty20. Given that record, he should have truly been in the Champions Trophy squad.

You can find a lot of sports betting tips and I'm sure most tips would have slated down Umar to be the leading scorer for Pakistan in the Champions Trophy if he was in the squad.

I am upset about Umar's exclusion, but I am even more upset at the way it has been handled.

Coming of two successive fifties in ODIs against Sri Lanka and Australia, Umar Akmal was dropped from the playing XI for the first two ODIs against India. It made no sense to drop a batsman who had scored two fifties in his previous 3 ODI innings.

He was brought back for the final ODI against India and managed to score 25.

He was in the squad for the ODI series against South Africa but did not play even one of the five ODIs.

And now he finds himself out of the squad.

The selectors and management feel that they have smartly phased Umar Akmal out of the international team.

But all they have really done is wasted the immense talent of a player like Umar Akmal, shattered his confidence, mismanaged his career, and taken out the most explosive component of Pakistan's batting line up for a major tournament.

How many more players are you going to waste!?

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