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  1. #1
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    "Selection policy should be performance-based & not about a ‘like & dislike’ culture" : Kamran Akmal

    A member of Pakistanís 2009 Twenty20 World Cup winning team, Kamran Akmal has represented Pakistan 268 times, scoring 6871 runs and taken 369 catches. He is currently a key member of the Peshawar Zalmi side in the Pakistan Super League and is a senior member of the Central Punjab squad in domestic cricket.

    In an exclusive interview with PakPassion.net, Akmal praised Mohammad Rizwan for his recent performances on the tour of England, discussed what Sarfaraz Ahmed needs to do to re-establish himself in the Pakistan side, focused on why performance and not age should be the criteria for representing Pakistan, discussed Haider Aliís promising future, and spoke about why England are the side to beat when it comes to limited-overs cricket.



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    PakPassion.net: Has Mohammad Rizwan done enough to make himself the first-choice wicket-keeper for Pakistan in all formats?

    Kamran Akmal:
    Considering this was Rizwanís first tour of England, his performances were unbelievably good. I can assure you that itís extremely difficult to perform well in England as a wicket-keeper. We have seen some fairly good keepers struggle there including the likes of current England wicket-keeper Jos Buttler. From my experience, I had issues keeping in England and the only three wicket-keepers who have done well in England in my view are Matt Prior, Mohammad Rizwan and Tim Paine. So, one must give credit to Rizwan for all his hard work which resulted in some outstanding performances.

    Whilst he has done well in Tests, I feel that in the shorter formats and especially Twenty20s, he is struggling a bit to find a place in the side. The only solution to this is for Rizwan to establish himself as an opener as that would not only make him indispensable but also result in an excellent team combination. However, I will sound a note of caution here and request the selectors to make sure that if they play Rizwan in other formats then they must judge him on specific formats only Ė it should not be the case that he loses his place in Tests if he doesnít perform well in T20Is or vice versa.


    PakPassion.net: What now for Sarfaraz Ahmed? Is his international career coming to an end?

    Kamran Akmal:
    He captained Pakistan sides for almost 3 years before he was dropped but he now has a clear path in front of him if he wishes to make a comeback in the national side. He must concentrate on not only doing well in domestic cricket as a wicket-keeper but also as a captain. I would like him to bat in the top order so that he can push himself and demonstrate his utility. Especially when it comes to Twenty20 or One-Day cricket, I would like him to bat up the order and possibly open the innings as currently he comes too late to bat which really doesnít give him a chance to score many runs. Similarly, in red-ball cricket, he needs to bat at the number 4 or 5 position and showcase his talent there too which will benefit him in the long run.


    PakPassion.net: A lot has been said on selection policies, but what in your view should be the criteria for selection?

    Kamran Akmal:
    The only reason any player should play for Pakistan is because he can help the national side win games. Whether its Sarfaraz Ahmed or Mohammad Rizwan is irrelevant as long as they are doing their job correctly. The only way to find such players is to use the criteria of performance in whichever format of the game we are considering. If for example, Asad Shafiq is doing well in red-ball cricket, there is no need to try and slot him in the shorter-formats.

    Similarly, as in the case of Wahab Riaz, if he is not available or comfortable in Tests, then donít force him to play in that format and play him in Limited-overs matches only and judge him for those performances, instead of bringing up his decision to not play Test cricket. I feel that this is the type of thinking that Misbah-ul-Haq will need to use when building our teams and is also something he needs to clearly communicate to his selectors as well.

    We know that Misbah himself has been through a similar situation to many cricketers, including myself find themselves in and he must be clear in his selection policy which should be performance-based and not about a Ďlike and dislikeí culture. The selectors also need to watch out for cases like that of Fakhar Zaman who has been given plenty of chances but has not been able to score that well. Itís in his interest that he goes away and does well in domestic cricket or else his long-term chances will be badly damaged by his continuing run of low scores.


    PakPassion.net: Would you agree that many selection decisions seem to be based on knee-jerk reactions?

    Kamran Akmal:
    I have seen this happen too often when people seem to write off international cricketers without knowing how much they have struggled to get into the national side and itís become far too easy for people to say that a certain cricketer is now finished so letís replace him. We had so many people including ex-cricketers talking about replacing Mohammad Hafeez and now that he has stood up and helped Pakistan win games, they donít have a leg to stand on and hopefully they have learnt their lesson now.

    An even greater tragedy is that people have started to criticize our number one batsman, Babar Azam, saying that he isnít scoring runs at a fast-enough rate or isnít winning enough games. What is becoming of us? If we wish to improve things then instead of looking down on a player like Babar, we should spend our energy motivating him. But once again, I feel that the team management needs to make sure that all players in the squad are looked after and given confidence instead of preferring to concentrate and spend energies on a select few who are their favourites.


    PakPassion.net: Did Pakistan make a mistake in inducting Naseem Shah into the national side without too much experience under his belt?

    Kamran Akmal:
    I feel that Naseem Shah is an outstanding talent and I hope and pray he continues to do well for Pakistan in the future and it was great that he was given an opportunity to play against England in all three Tests. However, once we had seen him do well in the first Test, there was no need to have played him in the remaining 2 Tests as he is still learning.

    But that did happen, and this was due to our selection policies and some strange desire for change which sees us discard trusted performers and start hyping players like Naseem. God Forbid if the newcomers fail, the same television pundits and ex-cricketers who were so confident and hyping Naseem Shah and Shaheen Shah Afridi to the moon will do a full U-turn and start to criticize them as if they were the root cause of all problems. This needs to stop and a sensible approach needs to be adopted as now a bowler like Naseem Shah will be under constant pressure which cannot be good for his development.


    PakPassion.net: How would you rate Misbah-ul-Haqís performance as the Head Coach/Chief Selector?

    Kamran Akmal:
    Misbah has been given the dual role by the PCB for a certain period and itís only fair that he be allowed to complete that tenure and of course he should be answerable for his policies during that period. I understand that he is facing a lot of criticism from all and sundry on television shows and social media and to remove him from his position because of this sort of pressure would be totally wrong. But before blaming Misbah, letís be clear about who is to blame for the current situation with the Pakistan side.

    Misbah and the current management at PCB can only bear about 10% of the blame but the real fault lies with the people who left us in this mess, namely Mickey Arthur and his predecessor. Those are the people we should make accountable for our current situation. As for Misbah, he is best placed to be at the position he is in because he has seen Pakistan cricket from the ground-up during his time as a domestic cricketer, and I would once again ask that he be allowed to complete his contract and for all questioning to be done at that point.


    PakPassion.net: Haider Ali must have impressed you a lot?

    Kamran Akmal:
    There is no doubt that Haider is an outstanding talent as he has recently shown on his debut in England. Peshawar Zalmi also need to be credited for picking him at the PSL draft and nurturing him and he duly obliged with some excellent performances during PSL 5. But the PCB need to ensure that they should stop his future coaches from changing his natural game. Let his technique remain the same as that is what he is blessed with Ė all he needs now is for coaches to make sure that he plays with a positive mindset.

    Haider has all the shots in his armoury; he can play the cut shot, the pull, orthodox and the slog sweep Ė he can even rotate the strike when needed. These are the exact qualities that have got him into the Pakistan side so no changes are required. We have seen in the past that players like Fakhar Zaman have come in with much promise but possibly due to over coaching have now been reduced to nothing. The same happened to Nasir Jamshed who hit two hundreds in India but bad coaching ensured that he went downhill after that.


    PakPassion.net: Is it right to fast-track players into the Pakistan team based upon PSL performances?

    Kamran Akmal:
    Itís better that this question be asked to the previous team management because this whole style of selection started in their time. We are ranked number 4 in T20Is, 6 in ODIs and are number 7 in ICCs Test team rankings. Need I say more? I feel for many the reality will hit them when the World Test Championship comes to an end and they see our ranking at that time.

    We could not win against a second-string England T20 side and lost to an England Test side which was lacking in many aspects. It has come to the stage where the better teams in white-ball cricket treat us like a Zimbabwe, Bangladesh, or a current Sri Lanka side. The reason for that is this Ďfast-trackingí style of selection we have developed in recent times. There is this idea that by bringing in new players based on a few good performances will change our fortunes. To me, this culture of Ďfast-trackingí youngsters without proper development is hurting Pakistan cricket.


    PakPassion.net: How else can new talent be brought into the Pakistan side?

    Kamran Akmal:
    Did India get rid of Sachin Tendulkar, VVS Laxman, Rahul Dravid and Virender Sehwag after the 2007 World Cup in the name of fast-tracking youngsters? All these great players stayed until they could help guide the next generation of Indian players and we are seeing the fruits of that policy today. How else do you explain the top-rankings of Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma or even the success of a youngster like Lokesh Rahul?

    Contrast that to our planning which really is non-existent. In fact, our planning seems to be to make it impossible for decent players like Shoaib Akhtar, Mohammad Yousuf and Abdul Razzaq to stay in the team Ė all of whom had a few more years of cricket left in them at the time of their retirements. Even worse was the case of how Younis Khan was dealt with by creating uncertainty in his selection and not communicating plans with him properly, with the result that he was forced to leave the Pakistan side. Had each of these players remained a few more years in the side, they would have helped groom the next generation of excellent cricketers for Pakistan. If things had been handled sensibly, Abdul Razzaq would have left behind an all-rounder in his mould, Shoaib Akhtar would have helped train quality pacers and we would have had a proper successor for Mohammad Yousuf as well.


    PakPassion.net: What are your views on the recent controversy regarding senior players being asked to play in the Second XI in domestic cricket?

    Kamran Akmal:
    Itís become ridiculous now as senior players are being asked to make room for Under-19 players in the First XI. Go ahead and provide opportunities for our younger players but do so with some proper planning and let them prove themselves by playing in Division 2. Instead if we start asking players like Salman Butt, Azhar Ali, myself, or Usman Salahuddin to play in the Second XI, then what signal are we sending to them?

    The only message this would relay to those players is that they arenít liked anymore and are not wanted anymore which is an insult. This is completely the wrong way to go about developing our Under-19 cricketers and will only hurt Pakistan cricket in the long term. In England and Australia, Under-19 cricketers do the hard yards in the lower divisions and once they have proven their mettle, they advance to the next stage but in Pakistan we seem to be following the opposite route.


    PakPassion.net: Was the decision to eliminate departmental cricket the right one?

    Kamran Akmal:
    I cannot explain what a struggle it is for cricketers who have been affected badly by the elimination of departmental teams. The decision to do away with departmental teams is obviously a decision of the PCB but they should have thought about the fact that by reducing teams, they are depriving young cricketers of the chance to share dressing rooms with experienced cricketers such as Azhar Ali or Salman Butt. This sort of mentoring would have been ideal for them.


    PakPassion.net: Were you pleasantly surprised at how Mohammad Hafeez answered his critics during the T20I series against England?

    Kamran Akmal:
    If we didnít have Mohammad Hafeez in the T20I side in England, Pakistan could have not even won against the England B side which is what that team effectively was. Just imagine how badly things would have turned out for Pakistan had Englandís top side turned up as they did against Australia. Even without the services of Ben Stokes, England absolutely hammered Australia in the first two games of the series. So, for those blindly asking for the removal of senior players, my message is to think again and look at what Mohammad Hafeez has to offer to Pakistan.


    PakPassion.net: How highly do you rate England in white-ball formats?

    Kamran Akmal:
    Looking at the quality of players and the team combination they have, I would say that there is no team in the world that can beat them in white-ball cricket with possibly the exception of India. In Eoin Morgan, England have an excellent leader and one who has created 2 fantastic ODI and T20I sides with some excellent planning to ensure he has a ready supply of players for each position. We have the likes of Tom Banton, Jonny Bairstow and Jason Roy Ė all set to move into the same batting positions as needed and are able to perform and win games. But above all, the players feel secure even if they are benched because they know that they will not be dropped and will be given an opportunity sooner rather than later.


    PakPassion.net: You seem to imply that players are insecure about their future in Pakistan teams?

    Kamran Akmal:
    Unfortunately, yes. Itís the opposite scenario in Pakistan to what we see in England or other world-class sides, where sometimes players with many years of experience are just dumped from the team and no one bothers asking about their welfare. Look at the example of Indian wicket-keeper Wriddhiman Saha who was unfit to play for almost a year but the BCCI kept faith in him and he repaid that trust by performing so well against Australia. This is the type of planning and coordination that is needed in our cricket too and I hope it will happen in future.


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  2. #2
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    Kamran never mentioned this when Sarfraz was clearly better than him in the early 2010s.

    That's not really his fault but the culture he abhors now is the same one he benefited from back then.

  3. #3
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    Canít help but feel that this interview is coming off as a grievance as to his personal circumstances.

    This particular quote cracked me up:

    ďMisbah and the current management at PCB can only bear about 10% of the blame but the real fault lies with the people who left us in this mess, namely Mickey Arthur and his predecessor.Ē

    Saying that management are only 10% responsible is hilarious 🤣 Blame everything on Mickey because heís no longer here ...

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kenpachi View Post
    Can’t help but feel that this interview is coming off as a grievance as to his personal circumstances.

    This particular quote cracked me up:

    “Misbah and the current management at PCB can only bear about 10% of the blame but the real fault lies with the people who left us in this mess, namely Mickey Arthur and his predecessor.”

    Saying that management are only 10% responsible is hilarious �� Blame everything on Mickey because he’s no longer here ...
    To be fair, you cannot blame him - he does feel aggrieved and which player would ever say they weren't worthy?


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  5. #5
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    It would be fair if he was dropped unnecessarily, however his poor performances with bat and gloves are what contributed to the decision to keep him out of the team.

    Not to mention the rumours/reports of off field antics in the dressing room!

  6. #6
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    There in KKR tam they have included Gill part of leadership group, and here we are keep going back to oldies. That is the reason we will ever progress... People talked about including experienced fast bowlers in England, and I can assure you they would have fared much worse than Naseem/Shaheen

    We just waste generations of youngsters for all the oldies

  7. #7
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    The more sensible sibling.

  8. #8
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    LAHORE: Pakistan’s wicketkeeper-batsman Kamran Akmal, in an interview with Pakpassion.net on Friday, claimed that the criticism received by prolific batsman Babar Azam was a great tragedy.

    The 38-year-old believed that our energies would be better spent by motivating the extraordinary batsman rather than criticising his performances. “An even greater tragedy is that people have started to criticise our number one batsman, Babar Azam, saying that he isn’t scoring runs at a fast-enough rate or isn’t winning enough games. What is becoming of us? If we wish to improve things then instead of looking down on a player like Babar, we should spend our energy motivating him. But once again, I feel that the team management needs to make sure that all players in the squad are looked after and given confidence instead of preferring to concentrate and spend energies on a select few who are their favourites,” Akmal said.

    The wicketkeeper-batsman stated that veteran all-rounder Mohammad Hafeez had proven his doubters wrong after a string of incredible performances in recent matches.

    “I have seen this happen too often when people seem to write off international cricketers without knowing how much they have struggled to get into the national side and it’s become far too easy for people to say that a certain cricketer is now finished so let’s replace him. We had so many people including ex-cricketers talking about replacing Mohammad Hafeez and now that he has stood up and helped Pakistan win games, they don’t have a leg to stand on and hopefully they have learnt their lesson now,” he said.

    Akmal claimed that Pakistan’s current head coach-cum-chief selector Misbahul Haq had been through a similar situation while urging the former captain to select players on the basis of performance.

    “We know that Misbah himself has been through a similar situation to many cricketers, including myself. He must be clear in his selection policy which should be performance-based and not about a ‘like and dislike’ culture. The selectors also need to watch out for cases like that of Fakhar Zaman who has been given plenty of chances but has not been able to score that well. It’s in his interest that he goes away and does well in domestic cricket or else his long-term chances will be badly damaged by his continuing run of low scores,” he concluded.

    https://dailytimes.com.pk/665801/cri...-kamran-akmal/


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  9. #9
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    Lahore: Wicket-keeper batsman Kamran Akmal spoke about the selection policy for the upcoming National T20 Cup, scheduled to start from September 30 in Multan.

    Speaking to PakPassion.net, Akmal said demoting senior players like Salman Butt to Second XI is really an insult. “It’s become ridiculous now as senior players are being asked to make room for Under-19 players in the First XI. Go ahead and provide opportunities for our younger players but do so with some proper planning and let them prove themselves by playing in Division 2,” said Akmal.

    “What message we are sending to youngsters if we ask players like Salman Butt, Azhar Ali, myself, or Usman Salahuddin to play in the Second XI,” he asked.

    The cricketer highlighted the cricket structure in England and Australia where U19 players are provided with an opportunity at lower level and afterward they make it to the senior team.

    “In England and Australia, Under-19 cricketers do the hard yards in the lower divisions and once they have proven their mettle, they advance to the next stage but in Pakistan, we seem to be following the opposite route,” he said.

    Akmal said senior players had always faced irresponsible attitude as they were forced aside despite having a few more years of cricket left in them. “Players like Shoaib Akhtar, Mohammad Yousuf, and Abdul Razzaq took retirement at a time when a few more years of cricket was left in them. Had each of these players remained a few more years in the side, they would have helped groom the next generation of excellent cricketers for Pakistan,” he concluded.

    https://arysports.tv/demoting-senior...-kamran-akmal/


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  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by MenInG View Post
    Lahore: Wicket-keeper batsman Kamran Akmal spoke about the selection policy for the upcoming National T20 Cup, scheduled to start from September 30 in Multan.

    Speaking to PakPassion.net, Akmal said demoting senior players like Salman Butt to Second XI is really an insult. ďItís become ridiculous now as senior players are being asked to make room for Under-19 players in the First XI. Go ahead and provide opportunities for our younger players but do so with some proper planning and let them prove themselves by playing in Division 2,Ē said Akmal.

    https://arysports.tv/demoting-senior...-kamran-akmal/

    whaaaaat!!!!!!!!!!

  11. #11
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    Some sensible comments from Kami, some ridiculous ones. This interview from him is all over the place.

  12. #12
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    He makes a fair point about selection policy and throwing young players into the deep end without too much experience.

    I think the selectors are a bit confused - won't let some f the oldies go, yet throwing young players in when it's questionable whether they are ready for the trials and tribulations of international cricket.



  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Saj View Post
    He makes a fair point about selection policy and throwing young players into the deep end without too much experience.

    I think the selectors are a bit confused - won't let some f the oldies go, yet throwing young players in when it's questionable whether they are ready for the trials and tribulations of international cricket.
    Yes totally fair point from him here. Its all but, natural to get excited seeing a decent young talent when some players in the national team are mediocre but, that is where the self control needs to come for atleast an year or couple of years so that the upcoming young players can be polished before induction in national team.
    Last edited by Titan24; 13th September 2020 at 01:39.

  14. #14
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    Is there ever a month where this guy doesn't complain about something?

  15. #15
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    Babar Azam is one of the best batsmen in the world right now along with Virat Kohli, Steve Smith, and Kane Williamson. He has been incredibly consistent in the past few years, often fighting a lone battle in the Pakistan middle order. The 25-year-old was in good form in the recently concluded England tour where Pakistan lost the Test series 0-1 and tied the T20 series 1-1.

    Even though he has been consistently accumulating runs, Babar has been criticised for his slow strike-rate. Babar was recently the number one T20 batsmen in the world (before being displaced by Dawid Malan). But criticism has been levelled on him for not scoring runs quickly.

    Pakistan wicketkeeper-batsman Kamran Akmal defended Babar, saying that people should spend their energy motivating him rather than looking down on a player like him.

    “An even greater tragedy is that people have started to criticize our number one batsman, Babar Azam, saying that he isn’t scoring runs at a fast-enough rate or isn’t winning enough games. What is becoming of us? If we wish to improve things then instead of looking down on a player like Babar, we should spend our energy motivating him,” Kamran said in an interaction with PakPassion.net,

    ‘I feel that the team management needs to make sure that all players in the squad are looked after and given confidence instead of preferring to concentrate and spend energies on a select few who are their favourites,” added the 38-year-old, who remains out of contention despite being among runs in the domestic circuit.

    Babar hit 195 runs in the three-match Test series for Pakistan while hitting 77 runs in the T20s. A lot was expected out of Babar but he wasn’t at his absolute best at the tour.

    https://www.hindustantimes.com/crick...zkHnOFTRP.html


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  16. #16
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    Lahore: Pakistan's wicketkeeper-batsman Kamran Akmal has lashed out at those criticising Babar Azam, saying it's a great tragedy that instead of motivating the premier batsman, people were finding faults in the performance of country's number one batsman. On the recent tour of England, Azam was not at his usual best as he could manage 69 runs in three rain-marred Tests and 56 runs in the two completed T20I matches. While Pakistan lost the three-match series 0-1, they were able to draw the three-match T20I series.

    "An even greater tragedy is that people have started to criticise our number one batsman, Babar Azam, saying that he isn't scoring runs at a fast-enough rate or isn't winning enough games," Akmal said in an interview to Pakpassion.net.

    "What is becoming of us? If we wish to improve things then instead of looking down on a player like Babar, we should spend our energy motivating him.

    "But once again, I feel that the team management needs to make sure that all players in the squad are looked after and given confidence instead of preferring to concentrate and spend energies on a select few who are their favourites," he added.

    Azam, who leads Pakistan in the limited-overs cricket, is currently ranked fifth in Tests, third in ODIs and second in T20Is. Earlier, Shoaib Akhtar had lashed out at the batsman and said, "Babar Azam looks like a lost cow to me. He is out there, not knowing what to do. It is important for him to take decisions on his own so that it could help him become a better captain in the coming times," Akhtar said on his YouTube channel.

    "Babar will need to understand that the chances coming his way are not going to happen for the rest of his life, so he needs to make the most out of it," he added.

    https://www.news18.com/cricketnext/n...t-2872805.html


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    I can't comment on his take on Arthur, or the relegation of senior players to second division as I haven't followed either issue closely, but overall a well thought out and well articulated interview by Akmal.

  18. #18
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    Another talent wasted due to mismanagement. Was he even given those three chances as opener?
    Last edited by BreadPakoda; 14th September 2020 at 10:47.

  19. #19
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    Agree with Kamran comments here. Current selection policy is based on likes and dislikes, which is very clear to see

    If it is for performances then Sohail , Imran, Wahab, Musa, Ifthikar will not be selected for tests

    Thanks to

  20. #20
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    I dont think the current management need to be lectured by an Akmal. the epitomy of the plastic generation of players we ened up with in the mid 00's and moving into the 2010's. His antics are legendary and we all know what his brother was like. No thanks.


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    As for his interview..oh please cry me a river. He was given chance after chance and what did we get? Sydney, and other mediocre Akmal moment. Who can forget the england tour of 2006? maybe someone should ask what happened to his catching in that tour? And he has the gall to criticise a young pakistani side with two keepers better than him and a young bowling attack that nearly one us a test against a solid england side. He also forgets the last two tours when he wasnt a part of tehs etup and we drew both of them wining three matches..

    He needs to pipe down and find another career..

  22. #22
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    Kamran akmal like many pakistan cricketers is happy with the management if hes being selected and will bash them when hes out of the team

    He needs to admit his career is over and retire with dignity rather than making a fool if himself every week

    He should be thankful he played a lot more times for pakistan than he deserved

  23. #23
    Debut
    Oct 2016
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    He is right, Mickey destroyed seniors careers. If not for Arthur we would still have an amazing line up of world beaters. Thankfully to Misbah, he is bringing the core group of world beaters together, and time is not far when we see the below team (which Arthur destroyed)

    Farhat
    Kamran Akmal
    Butt
    Umar Akmal
    Malik
    Hafeez
    Adnan Akmal
    Sohail Tanvir
    Tanvir Ahmed
    Sohail Khan
    Imran Khan Jr.
    Yasir

    Misbah (coach + selector + everything else PCB don't have)
    Waqar : All time best coach
    Mushi : New Intikhab Alam, 1 coach for Yasir
    Basit Ali : Youth coach , look after Umar Akmal (the forever youngster)


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