Umar learning to bat with patience


Pakistan’s top batsman Umar Akmal doesn’t want to change his attacking style of play but says he is learning to stay longer at the crease and is eyeing a comeback to the Test squad. Umar, rated as one of the most exciting young players around in Pakistan cricket, also made it clear that the disappointment of losing the 2011 World Cup semi-final still haunts him. “When I was batting in the semi-final I was very sure of myself that I could go all the way and do it myself. People say I played recklessly but I was looking to take a steal a single of Harbhajan Singh and he outfoxed me with a quicker one,” Umar was quoted as saying. Pakistan crumbled in the semi-final after being set a challenging total by arch-rivals India. The national selection committee has dropped Umar from the Test squad currently playing in Sri Lanka but he is expected to make a comeback to the one-day side for the series. “I am not disappointed at being dropped from the Test squad. I am enjoying myself in domestic cricket and I am trying to occupy the crease for longer periods because that is what the selectors and team management wants me to do,” he added. But Umar made it clear that he had no intention of sacrificing his natural style of play. “I like to play positively all the time and attack that will not change but now I am learning to be more selective in my shots and to wait at the crease and frustrate the bowlers,” he said. Umar, younger brother of discarded wicketkeeper Kamran Akmal, said he was keen to make a mark in Test cricket as well and play for Pakistan for a long time. “Nowadays a complete cricketer is the one who can play in all three formats of the game and that is my target. I feel my success has been due to the fact that I never take any pressure when batting,” he said. Umar who scored a century in his debut Test match for Pakistan in 2009 said he loved to dominate the bowlers and believed in playing positively to pressurise them. “But it is a wrong impression that I don’t listen to advice from my seniors. I have always listened to them. I respect them a lot and they have been very good to me. When Shahid Afridi was captain he used to tell me go and play my natural game and support has also come from others,” he added. Umar said he didn’t feel any pressure coming into international cricket as he had toured Australia with the Pakistan A team before that and did well on the tour. “The experience of playing on Australian pitches helped my confidence a lot and when I was given a chance to play for Pakistan I didn’t feel pressure at all. I treated it like a normal game,” he added. Umar admitted that there had been disappointments in his life, especially the World Cup semi-final and the Test against New Zealand at Dunedin in 2009 when despite his scoring runs his team ended up on the losing side. “Obviously when you score runs and your team wins the value of those runs is greater,” he noted.