While leading keeper-batter Umar Akmal may not be in the Pakistan selectors’ scheme of things at this time, he continues to remain optimistic about making a return to the national side.
In a recent interview with Paktv, Akmal stated that his fitness should not be the reason for his non-option, as he has confirmed with his recent performances that there aren’t any issues with his game fitness.
He also said that he has been keeping wickets for his side in Grade-II cricket and that he hasn’t been delaying behind in running between the wickets in those games. Akmal described:
“I am hopeful of making a comeback. If I get enough support from people and senior players, I will be back on the national side. The question of fitness not being up to the mark arises when a batter’s running between the wickets is not good or if he isn’t able to field for all the overs.
“They should see ground fitness. You can confirm this with my coach. I have kept wickets for all-overs and have been running the singles and doubles well too.”
He asked the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) to give him an opportunity to train at the National Cricket Academy. The 32-year-old further said that he is also fine if any of the trainers can provide him with a plan that he can track in order to improve his fitness.
The right-handed batter implied that if that happens, he will be able to meet the necessary fitness standards in just 3 weeks. Akmal added:
“If I am not meeting the required fitness standards, call me to the Pakistan Cricket Academy and give me an opportunity to work with the trainers. If they don’t want to call me to the academy, then at least a trainer could provide me with a plan I would hire a personal trainer for myself then and work accordingly.
“Three weeks are enough to improve a player’s fitness. My gound fitness is fine, but they have told me that my body isn’t how they want it to be.”
Akmal’s last aspect in international cricket arrive in October 2019. Often considered the infant terrible of Pakistan cricket, he was suspended by the PCB in the month of February 2020 for not reporting spot-fixing offers during the Pakistan Super League (PSL). The board later authorized him to resume playing club cricket.
“Always willing to do what the team desires from me” – Umar Akmal on keeping wickets
Akmal went on to add that he took up wicketkeeping duties for Central Punjab’s 2nd XI side at the claim of head coach Imran Farhat. He told that he is always looking to provide for the success of his teams by delivering what they hope him to.
The cricketer also recalled that he never shied away from keeping the wickets even when he was a part of the Pakistan squad.
“Our head coach Imran Farhat had told me that I will need to keep the wickets for the second XI matches. Be it club cricket or the Pakistan team, I am always willing to do what the team needs from me.”
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