Stories about Umar Akmal

The ‘chosen ones’ for the 2015 World Cup

Cricket is not just a game in Pakistan; it is the blood of this nation. Thus, it is only natural that the hopes and dreams of 180 million people are placed on the shoulders of 11 men in green. Every cricket enthusiast in Pakistan was busy guessing who the ‘chosen ones’ for the squad were going to be before the names were finally unveiled by the National Selection Committee. Senior players like Kamran Akmal, Shoaib Malik and Umar Gul were dropped while pace bowlers like Sohail Khan, who last played international cricket in 2011, made a comeback. What came as a surprise to everyone, ...

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Sarfraz Ahmed – Pakistan cricket’s biggest positive in 2014

Pakistan cricket has a glorious history as far as wicket keepers are concerned, with the likes of Wasim Bari, Moin Khan and Rashid Latif serving the country successfully for long spells in the past. Moin Khan (L), Rashid Latif (C) and Wasim Bari (R). Their successor, Kamran Akmal, made a breakthrough entrance into the team and continued to perform consistently, up until that dreaded Test match in Sydney in January 2010. Kamran failed to hold on to four catches and also missed a run-out, due to which Australia were able to seal a highly unlikely victory. Ever since that horrid day, Pakistan’s wicket keeping standards have experienced a ...

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Once bitten twice shy? Not if you’re part of PCB’s selection committee!

Pakistanis live in the age of nostalgia. A 67-year-old Bambi, still struggling to get on its feet, one step forward, two steps back, sprawled spectacularly on the floor. A nation dead set on moving backwards. From our political affiliations, religious oppression, blasphemous laws, dress-codes to the selection of our cricket team, ours is a generation that shall wistfully flip through old photos unable to grasp the reality of who we were and what we could be, unable to move forward. If you skim through the list of the 30 probables sent for the 2015 World Cup team, there’s no need to ...

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Pakistan versus Australia: Our middle-order conundrum

A lot has happened in Pakistan cricket over the last two decades. Teams have been shuffled around, captaincy has been tinkered with, the management has been a chaotic mess, the administration is a shambles, so on and so forth. A lot has changed; however, if there’s one thing that has remained synonymous to Pakistan cricket for years now, that is our batting woes. The predictability is so obvious that it’s almost becoming funny now. The best way to gauge public sentiment about Pakistan’s batting is to observe comments, tweets and statuses on social media when we’re chasing – be it ...

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Pakistan sports: Abundance of talent but lack of recognition

It was amazing how Pakistan beat India 2-1 in their Asian games fixture yesterday. If you see the last couple of months in light of the Indo-Pak rivalry, you would be proud to see how well Pakistan has done against India in pretty much all sports. Just last month, Pakistan beat India 2-0 in the final match of a friendly series. Though Pakistan lost the first match, we won the series on goal average. Last week, our domestic side, Lahore Lions, took on the two time CLT20 champions Mumbai Indians and surprisingly ended up beating them. And it’s not just these Indo-Pak clashes where we have done really ...

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Great expectations… from the Lahore Lions

The Lahore Lions will be part of the Champions League T20 2014. After winning the local T20 competition, the Lahore Lions are all set with visas in hand to take on the big guns and probably slay a few giants. Led by Muhammad Hafeez, the former T20 captain of Pakistan, Lahore Lions are capable of spoiling the party for many favourites. The team is decent to say the least. The captain is one of the best all-rounders going around; sometimes he impresses more with his bowling than his batting, but he is a match winner especially in the shortest format. He’s likely to open, ...

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Umar Akmal: From child prodigy to cricketing enigma

Umar Akmal came onto the international cricket scene when the national team was surrounded by catastrophe. Rebellions, groupings, match-fixing and a loathsome competition for captaincy were the highlights of the Pakistani side. This was a mini flashback of the 90s, when the captaincy changed hands every time the team played badly and instability became the norm of the team. Akmal forced his way into the debris of one of the most colossal batting orders in the history of Pakistan’s cricket, on the back of the Australia A tour of June/July 2009. He had a walloping start in international cricket; just in his third game, ...

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U-19 World Cup: Is inconsistency part of Pakistani culture?

There are times when certain characteristics become symbolic of a particular country. That is, these characteristics are exhibited by the general masses as well as their leaders and institutions; hence it makes them part of a particular culture. For Pakistanis, I believe, that one characteristic is their utter lack of consistency. Albeit our politics, our economy, our policy-making or our sports, consistency has largely been absent for a greater period of time. In sports, our teams are widely known for being painfully inconsistent and this has become our reputation in the global arena. In the recently concluded Under-19 (U-19) World Cup, our young ...

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Umar Akmal: When the going gets tough, the tough… run to ‘daddy’?

I still remember how as a young child I said something rude to a cousin of mine, a typical childish remark like, “I don’t want to play with you, you always whine” or, “You don’t have any nice toys” or something like that. When my parents found out, I was not only berated for my rudeness, I was even made to apologise to my cousin with a promise that I would never again be intentionally mean to anyone. This incident not only helped me being careful of what I say or do for years to come but also made me realise that accountability ...

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Team selection for Asia Cup 2014 and T20 World Cup: Is this a joke?

According to a sports analyst, whatever happens in Pakistani cricket does not happen anywhere else. The recent team selection for the upcoming Asia Cup and T20 World Cup is an appropriate example of this statement. Looking at the selected players, it is not clear whether the selectors want to go forward or backward. Perhaps, they do not have any direction at all. In the coming days, Pakistan’s cricket team is set to play two international tournaments – the Asia Cup and the T20 World Cup – both to be held in Bangladesh. The team selected for both tournaments has been announced and as expected, the selectors ...

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