Stories about Umar Akmal

His name is Babar Azam, not Virat Kohli

In the land known to produce premium fast bowlers, a young schoolboy-like personality is making strides in the batting arena like we have never seen before. A staggering ODI average of 58.60 comes off so unique to us that it almost feels like this individual has been misplaced, and needs to return to the other side of the border. However, as astonishing as it may sound, this particular batsman is Pakistani indeed. His name is Babar Azam, not Virat Kohli. Babar Azam is pulled into an embrace by his captain after raising his sixth ODI century, ...

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Dear PCB, when will you learn that it is not all about the money?

Recently, the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) announced a 100% increase in the salaries of domestic players and coaches alike. Furthermore, the contracts of the players and coaches have been extended to a year-long period from the pre-existing six-month period. On the surface, this looks like a great move on PCB’s behalf, but this move alone will not improve the dilapidated state of Pakistan’s domestic cricket. Domestic players and coaches always complain that the greatest problem they face is a lack of funds and how this issue has severely hampered the development of cricketers. Now with this increase in salaries, the onus is on ...

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Other than selfies, what was Ahmed Shehzad’s contribution in the Champions Trophy to deserve the cash prize?

Pakistan just pulled off an incredible victory against politically imposed nemesis India in the Champions Trophy final last month. The victory tasted so sweet that the government and media houses (don’t forget the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) too, they’re here somewhere) took it upon themselves to virtually term this win as the epitome and peak of Pakistan’s performance. Really? Wait, we’re still ranked sixth in the world? Hold on to your horses, people; it’s a great win but Pakistan cricket has a long way to go. The victorious Pakistan team lift the Champions Trophy, India v Pakistan, Final, Champions Trophy 2017, The Oval, London, June 18, 2017. Photo: ...

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It’s about time Pakistan moves on from the Akmal trio once and for all, starting with Umar

Umar Akmal, who had been dropped earlier from Pakistan’s squad that traveled to the West Indies due to poor fitness, was announced as a member of the 15-man squad that would travel to England to feature in the ICC Champions Trophy. After being dropped from the national squad, Akmal was asked to lead Punjab in this year’s edition of the Pakistan Cup which, again, raised a few questions over what precedent the board and selection committee were trying to set. How was a player who deemed unfit for national selection, now fit enough to lead a side in the country’s ...

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As captain, can Sarfraz Ahmed steer Pakistan to victory in the 2017 ICC Champions Trophy?

Pakistan’s archaic style of ODI cricket is up for a stern test in this summer’s Champions Trophy. The team is grouped with South Africa (ranked number one in the International Cricket Council (ICC) rankings), arch-rivals India, and Sri Lanka. A realistic assessment might be for the team to win at least one out of these three games – more likely to be the one against Sri Lanka – but that would also mean having to do away with the optimism of a Pakistani cricket fan. Regardless of how bad we think our team is, almost every fan will, as always, ...

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Definitely not a Mast Qalandar start to Lahore’s PSL season

If you are a Lahore Qalandar fan, the defeat at the hands of Quetta Gladiators will be a tough pill to swallow simply due to the fact that the Qalandars were the dominating force for the majority of the match. Having won the toss on a sunny afternoon in Dubai, Brendon McCullum could not have asked for a better start from his bowlers as the Gladiators were reeling, at one stage, on 83 for six. Had it not been for Rilee Rossouw, who amassed 60 off 47 balls, the Gladiators would have been in all sorts of trouble and would ...

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Despite being a Karachiite, my allegiance lies with the Lahore Qalandars

The second edition of Pakistan Super League (PSL) is just around the corner and, like all teams, the Lahore Qalandars fan following has pinned high hopes on their side especially after a below par first season. The Qalandars clan would be eyeing loads of ‘dama dam mast’ moments and would be more than happy to see their side rule the roost in the upcoming edition of Pakistan’s premier T20 League. The ‘Baz’ factor The Lahore Qalandars are blessed to have a player like Brendon McCullum in their ranks especially considering the fact that he will also be leading the side. The ...

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Will the Lahore Qalandars bring back Pakistan’s glory days?

If we study, analytically, the countless success stories ever recorded, there would certainly be a few common denominators; having a dream would be one of them. Every person feels inspired when they watch their idol achieve historic feats and fare well on a path they, too, have set for themselves. However, what separates the enormous swarm of aspirants from the handful who actually achieve their dreams is their unremitting dedication, commitment, motivation and persistence. Another factor that contributes to one’s success is the efficiency and precision of the management involved in executing a plan of action. Cricket is no different. Long gone are the ...

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Why has Umar Akmal disappeared from Test cricket?

In 2009, I watched a 19-year-old batsman score a century during his Test debut in New Zealand. He took on the likes of Shane Bond, and made it look relatively easy. Umar Akmal blitzed his way through to 129 on debut, and followed it up with 75 in the second innings. A star was born, or so I thought. Fast-forward seven years and the same cricketer is struggling to score runs in the Bangladesh Premier League. How times change. It saddens me to see such a talent being wasted, especially considering Pakistan’s batting stocks are so low. But how did ...

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Removing Azhar Ali from the cricket team will result in a long-term loss

An out of favour batsman, who had remained in the shadows for long and was deemed surplus to requirement in the shorter formats, was, out of the blue, asked to lead a side. Not any ordinary side, but a side that was plagued with groups, seniority-‘juniority’ prejudices and a quota system that has seeped into our roots. The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) gambled on Misbahul Haq when they not only brought him back into the Test side, but to the shock of many, made him captain. The gamble succeeded and Misbah went on to become the most successful captain in ...

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