In the aftermath of Sydney, confusion. As Pakistan look ahead to the third Test in Hobart, contradictory noises are being made over the future of under-fire wicketkeeper Kamran Akmal.
After the loss at the SCG, in which Akmal dropped four catches, an incensed PCB sent Sarfraz Ahmed as a replacement from Pakistan, insisting in a strongly-worded statement that he “will participate” in the Hobart Test.
Akmal, however, has said that he is expecting to keep his place, as reports emerge that he has the backing of a number of players within the side, including possibly the captain, Mohammad Yousuf. “I was very successful with my batting and wicketkeeping on the New Zealand tour and before the New Zealand tour. So I was very happy,” Akmal was quoted as saying in Hobart by AAP.
“But I think the third day of the Sydney Test match was not good for me - this happens. I’m very keen. My confidence is very high. Management is very confident for me and coaches, Intikhab Alam, Waqar Younis, Aqib Javed, and my team-mates also. I will play the third Test match and more matches for my country.”
During and after the loss in Sydney Yousuf resisted talk of dropping Akmal, maintaining that a player of his record cannot so easily be dropped from the side. Akmal is vice-captain of the side and a popular member within the team. If there is even talk of retaining him - let alone if he is eventually retained - it seems to place the touring team management on a direct crash course with the board back home.
The situation between the two sides has anyway been poor on this tour; persistent calls by Yousuf for Younis Khan to be sent to strengthen the batting almost from the moment the tour started fell on deaf ears, the selection committee in Pakistan first delaying and finally turning down the request.
But at least two members of the on-tour selection committee say that Akmal will not play in Hobart. “They have sent Sarfraz all the way here for what if not to play?” one told Cricinfo. “Akmal will not play the third Test.” As ever with Pakistan and its many power centres that is unlikely to be the last word on the matter.
Akmal’s younger brother Umar, who has impressed and infuriated in equal doses so far on the tour, pulled up at training with a stiff back. Management remain confident that he will be fine for the Test, due to begin on January 14. Mohammad Aamer, who missed the second Test with a groin complaint, has also been training and is said to be progressing well, making it likelier still that Pakistan may finally be able to field their first-choice attack in Hobart at the third time of asking.
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Post InfoThis entry was posted on Monday, January 11th, 2010 and is filed under Cricket, General.
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