Monday, March 14, 2011

Akmal Distractions

Pakistan take on Zimbabwe tomorrow from Kandy. The weather is a concern.

Umar Akmal is apparently "injured"

Kamran Akmal's internal politics along with nepotism is destroying Pakistan Cricket. Hard to believe that UAs injury was genuine. This has not been the first time that when Karman's place is on the line something drastically happens to change his fortunes so he can somehow retain his place in the line up. Fishy news indeed and we have every right to be speculative.

Which way around do you think it is?

1) Umar is deliberately faking an injury to save Kamran's place in the team?
2) Kamran is playing dressing room games and pressurising the youngster to play it dirty so he is not side-lined?

Personally I believe its number 2 but either way this is an act of shamefulness and questions the national pride of the brothers who are seemingly more concerned with personal interests. The management have strictly and correctly warned the duo that if there is a any repeat of what happened following the SCG debacle it will not be tolerated which puts their future with the Pakistan Cricket Team in question. These two might be sleeping uneasy now.

Shahid Afridi has earned a reputation of firmly criticising and attacking his own players in the open media, but when it's Kamran Akmal he does not say a word. Mind blowing stuff from Pakistan's captain.

Any observer who follows the game in any detail and technical seriousness will know that Umar is technically a better and more advanced keeper than Kamran. He may be called a make shift keeper but he has excellent reflexes and sharp footwork as we have seen previously and when you compare him to someone like Kamran, Umar is far superior with the gloves. Therefore, there should be absolutely no hesitation in making him the premier keeper. The irony is that Kamran is actually worse than a make shift keeper!!!

Even leading media sources are insulting Kamran. Cricinfo has been calling him a 'prat' and to be frankly honest we really cannot blame them one bit. The match winning drop machine must go for good.

The chances of Kamran scoring tomorrow if he plays are high though. There is a pattern that he always lift his performance levels when his place is on the line and he is under the firing line, but then does nothing much after to follow it up and we then wait for another disastrous keeping exhibition down the line. So even if he does end up scoring tomorrow, people must not get carried away.

Pakistan (probable) 1 Ahmed Shehzad, 2 Mohammad Hafeez, 3 Kamran Akmal (wk), 4 Younis Khan, 5 Misbah-ul-Haq, 6 Asad Shafiq/ Umar Akmal, 7 Shahid Afridi, 8 Abdul Razzaq, 9 Wahab Riaz, 10 Saeed Ajmal, 11 Umar Gul.

I would move Afridi and Razzaq up a position and play Junaid Khan as well rather than Shafiq in the middle order. Gives us an extra front line bowling option and a genuine new ball bowler, but it looks like they're going to stay with their 8 batsmen defensive strategy even against a weaker side. Good riddance.

Possibly they are playing Shafiq as a keeper in which case that is totally understandable, but still even if they are doing that one of the openers has to make way for the 7-4 combo. I'm beginning to accept that they are going to go with a 8-3 combo from here on in, but this is something they may well regret big time down the line. Afridi and Waqar are showing how hopeless they are in planning a strategy to become a champion side and extract the best out of the team by using full strength well balanced and attacking combinations. They are clueless in bringing the best out of others and showing game awareness, something which Younis, Misbah and Malik have done really well when they had the captaincy in their hands. Sir Imran will be tearing his hair out at Afridi right now! He has the resources, just not using them properly!

Team Confirmed by ARY News who have got it right each time so far:-

1) Shehzad
2) Hafeez
3) Kamran (WK)
4) Younis
5) Misbah
6) Shafiq
7) Afridi
8) Razzaq
9) Wahab


  1. See Maz, the danger is that both the brothers will perform against the minnows tomorrow and everyone will forget and no changes will happen. Come an important game and the Akmals will cock-up again. Round and round we go.

    I agree, strange the way Afridi supports him. Maybe he thinks that because Akmal is playing, it will only harm the team if the captain criticises him.

    I would play Shafiq regardless. He's a cool customer and is pretty unlucky not to be in the team. Personally, he's better than Umar Akmal in my opinion. That guy's just a name (now he's gonna get a century tomorrow :))

  2. TJ

    Exactly. The elder one will end up cementing his place for the rest of the tour and beyond and the fan base usually have really short mind spans and forget about the past as if doesn’t matter one bit and everything is singing and dancing with his inclusion when we will only be going around in circles if tendencies are anything to go by.

    I partly agree with what you’re saying in regards to Shafiq. If you remember, when Umar was dropped from the Test line up at the expense of Shafiq I was actually totally in favour and approved of the move. Shafiq is more suited to the tougher challenges. Obviously on talent alone Umar is the clear winner, but that is not everything. Shafiq has solid temperament, sound application, fighting spirit, an unfazed and well controlled game plan and plenty of mental toughness and determination. I’m one of those who always prefer watching these kind of players as opposed to pure flair and expressiveness. A combination of both is needed for the limited overs affairs.

    I personally rate Azhar Ali higher than both Shafiq and Umar Akmal overall. He could be drafted into the ODI line up after the WC. Certainly he has a lot to give and is a true revelation to have in the ranks. This type of player adds variety and front line solidity in the batting arena and the pleasing aspect is that he is only in his 20s and has a good mature hard working head on his shoulders.

    Shafiq is leagues better than Fawad Alam and has completely overtaken him to such an extent that Fawad could not find a spot in the preliminary 30 man squad.

    He is a good fielder too just like Shehzad, UA and Fawad. I get the impression they are putting more emphasis on this facet of the game nowadays which is good to see as some fine fielders are flourishing through the ranks, something which has never been a forte of the Stanis!