Kamran Akmal should stay on the Pakistan team

Published: March 11, 2011

Kamran Akmal (L) stretches with teammates during a training session at the Asgiriya Stadium in Kandy. PHOTO: AFP

There is a famous saying in cricket: ‘catches win matches’. Pakistan’s last Group A match against New Zealand is a perfect testament to this rightly so famous saying.

Kamran Akmal’s disappointing show behind the wicket cost Pakistan a wave of success in cricket’s most extravagant event — gifting New Zealand an emphatic victory through Ross Taylor’s heroics. Kamran’s deteriorating ability to carry out his duties seems to be a source of major concern.

Having said that, Pakistan need to reassess their reaction to the faltering wicket-keeper’s promising talent.

While Kamran sat on the training benches from afar and watched his brother Umar Akmal wear the gloves at the training session in Kandy, I wonder if this is the best possible choice for the team. No one is denying that Pakistan fell prey to mistakes with catastrophic repercussions; however, how feasible is it to break the rhythm of a team which entered the World Cup with a bang?

Calling Umar to take over the seat behind the stumps is synonymous to pressing the panic button. This will not only disturb the harmony of the side, it will also detrimentally affect the team’s unity, which so far – minus the match against New Zealand – seems promising enough to earn them the favourites tag.

Kamran has been with the side for a long time and he offers enormous potential with the bat — facts if negated can prove to be dangerous. Besides, we don’t have options; Umar is not a specialist wicket-keeper.

What Kamran needs right now is confidence on manifold levels. He needs self-belief, his teammates’ words of motivation and his coach and captain’s encouragement — and of course a mountain to climb in training. But the good news for Pakistan is that they next play Zimbabwe. Not underestimating the opponent, Pakistan can safely make some subtle changes as trial-and-error.

Saeed Ajmal remains the black sheep in the team. It is not so much as ineffectiveness in his bowling as it is the fact that he has not received enough match time. Pakistan can safely replace Abdur Rehman with Ajmal, given that Rehman is largely a stock bowler.

This will give Ajmal confidence and the opportunity to shine and display his variety as a spinner. Opener Ahmed Shehzad has seen and missed his day on the pitch, it is time for Pakistan to experiment with Asad Shafiq and see what he has to offer.

As far as the general team strategy is concerned, we have seen of late that captains have opened their bowling attack with a fast-bowler and a spinner on the other end.

Arguably, this is a good strategy, given the team has assessed the playing conditions thoroughly. Pakistan have played all their matches in Sri Lanka. Being an island, the pitches automatically present a moist surface in humid conditions. This is optimal for spin bowlers — a feature which the captain should exploit.

Breaking the rhythm of a team that is well invested in an ongoing tournament poses its threats. But it still offers some space for reasonable changes not dramatic or desperate ones. The challenge for Pakistan is to differentiate between the reasonable and desperate changes.

Given that losses are a part of any sport, let’s give our team the space to live through their errors sometimes, because they have the potential to overcome them.

For the latest World Cup updates and opinions visit The Express Tribune Cricket.


Danish Kaneria

The writer is Pakistan’s highest wicket-taking spinner in Test cricket.

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • CB Guy

    didn’t read the whole thing but this support coming from a guy who lost atleast 20 test wickets to this man’s incompetence is mind boggling. I don’t think dropping Kamran is panic, its the need of the hour, he has already screwed 4-5 chances in 2 matches. If umar akmal can not do it, bring on Younas, he will still be better then Kamran. Recommend

  • A

    The problem with Kamran is his mind. After letting go the 1st catch he was under such pressure that he panicked when the 2nd catch came his way. Which was much easier!
    Umar has the talent and the fresh mind to hold onto such dollies and therefore it is much better to hand the gloves over.
    Play Kamran as an opener and get Asad Shafiq into the middle order. Let Umar keep.
    Against a strong batting team like India you can replace Shafiq with an extra bowler.Recommend

  • Nadeem Ahmed

    Danish, you are a very smart guy. Your suggestion is actually killing two birds with one stone. You will have your revenge and place in the team. If Kamran stays little longer, not only he will permanentaly lose his place, also some bowlers will go with him. Nice try anyway.Recommend

  • JS

    I dont know why everyone keeps talking about his batting. He does not even has a 33+ average in ODIs. Looks like there no better keepers and batsmen in Pakistan than Akmal brothers. What a shame!

    Just drop Kamran Akmal and bring in Asad Shafiq. Ask him to keep wickets. Drop Shahzad and bring in Riaz so that we can have a real fast opening bowler who can put pressure on the opposition. Send Razzaq as opener and use him just to bowl 4-5 overs during the middle overs. Rehman is a container but Ajmal is a striker. They should play with Ajmal in next matches.Recommend

  • MG

    A matchfixer will always support the other no matter what … now it his bro umar kamal showing himself having a finger injury so that his bro kamran can still … doing the same thnigs what they did in AUS..at the expense of pak … Recommend

  • Syed

    I think he is also eying to his share in this whole betting deal – selling Pakistan on grounds :( Recommend

  • KZ

    I’d have to agree with Danish, lets keep Kami for the remaining few matches (Pessimism aside how far can we go). The matters to address is not just about the keeping but our bowling, batting and the captaincy.
    Lets be honest Shoaib had a dreadful day, where was the length? What was afridi thinking when in swinging conditions he opted to open with Rehman and not Razzaq. They both ball at the same pace and both are there to check on the economy rather than take wickets. After coming from the NZ series, didnt Afridi nor Waqar realize that Guptil’s been in the form of his life and we probably ought to get him out right away.
    England realize that their approach is rather to mechanical and they should learn to adapt spontaneously but with the think tanks on our side neither the spur of the moment decisions work nor do the mechanical method conclude.Recommend

  • Alias

    ..let’s give our team the space to live through their errors sometimes, because they have the potential to overcome them.

    Exactly my thoughts.Recommend

  • Kamaqal Akmal

    No he should be released in the wild from where we got him in the first place. Also there should be a lifetime ban on him for showing his teeth.Recommend

  • Waqas Rasool

    agree with danishRecommend

  • san

    You are smart guy.No wonder one day one day you would be playing under captaincy of Mr.Kamran Akmal.If Kamran akmal would have grabbed all dropped chances on your spectacular bowling then Cricket history would have been changed.Recommend

  • Ahmed Khan

    Kamran Akmal has “tremendous potential” says Danish Kameria .DK supporting Kami is quiet natural. Both have been “victims” of controversies in cricket . Its high time that they make a group of “Unfortunate cricketers” with “tremendous potential”.
    Already three cricketers with ” tremendous potential ” have been banned in absense of a united forum . Another crickter Umar Akmal can have same fate.He has not been confirmed for match against “Zimbabwe” despite being declared match fit and screened for “Sydney virus”

    All cricketers should keep one thing in mind that “Pakistans” honour has utmost priority over individual friendships and Akmalian brotherhood. Dont test Poor but Proud Pakistanis .

    Pakistan ZindabadRecommend

  • lookwhostalking

    ‘enormous potential with the bat’ = twenty-something batting average. Wow, sure is an awesome batsman! He is a crappy keeper and a crappy batsman. I rest my case.Recommend

  • Raj

    Where is Fatwa?Recommend