Is Kamran Akmal’s exclusion from Asia Cup justified?


— The 36-year-old opening batsman was ignored from the squad despite his rich form in List A cricket

The selection of Pakistan cricket team for the upcoming Asia Cup has been received by the fans with a fair amount of skepticism, as experienced players like Muhammad Hafeez and Kamran Akmal were left out despite their recent domestic performances.

Akmal, who last played an ODI for Pakistan in April last year, was ignored from the squad despite his rich form in List A cricket. Reacting on his exclusion, the 36-year-old didn’t hold back his feelings and openly blamed skipper Sarfraz Ahmed and head coach Mickey Arthur for “biased team selection”.

“These days, only the coach and captain decide who plays in the side. It seems that the chief selector does not have major say in such decisions although the decision should be unanimously taken by all three,” he was quoted as saying in an interview. “Should I burn my kit bag or hit myself with a bat? Perhaps the only time I will come under reckoning is courtesy of a miracle,” a visibly frustrated Akmal added.

Often criticized by experts for his fitness, Akmal said his fitness and performance was there for everyone to see. “I don’t think my cricket playing days are over yet,” he confirmed.

Commenting on the issue on his YouTube channel, former Pakistan captain and commentator Ramiz Raja said it was unfortunate for a player like Akmal to sit-out when he was in such rich reign of form.

“Akmal has been unlucky and I can understand his frustration,” said former captain and commentator Ramiz Raja. “But I feel it would be equally unfair to rule out Sarfaraz Ahmed, who has been instrumental as a leader for Pakistan.”

He said perhaps the selectors want to stick with youngsters instead of bringing back those who have been tried on numerous occasions.

It is pertinent to mention that Asia Cup would be held in the UAE, a place ideal for spin bowlers like Muhammad Hafeez. His exclusion from the side has also raised question marks on the selection committee.

Commenting on Hafeez, Rameez Raja said he would have given Hafeez a chance if he were the selector. “We needed an experienced hand in the middle order. Hafeez proved in last year’s Champions Trophy final against India that he was a big match player who could utilize his vast experience with the bat and contribute significantly with the bowl. Pakistan will surely miss him, especially against the left handers,” he concluded.


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