To say it's been a tough time of late for Kamran Akmal would be a huge understatement. The wicketkeeper batsmen found himself out of favour for the recently concluded series versus South Africa, as the selectors and Board opted first for Zulqarnain Haider and then Kamran's younger brother Adnan to take on the responsibility behind the stumps.
Kamran had a minor appendix operation shortly before the series versus South Africa in the United Arab Emirates and despite being fully fit, found himself playing for National Bank in the Quaid-e-Azam Trophy, rather than for Pakistan.
The reasoning behind Kamran's ommission was never disclosed, but the fingers of suspicion were once again raised after the spot fixing fallout. However Akmal has now been told by the ICC that he is clear to once again seek Pakistan selection. *Pakistan's first-choice wicketkeeper-batsman, has not played since the one-day match at Southampton against England in September but speaking exclusively to PakPassion.net, he spoke of his determination to reclaim his place in the Pakistan lineup.*
"Being dropped is not an easy thing to take, but I took it on the chin and decided that I would use my dropping from the team as a motivational tool."
Akmal has been in superb form for National Bank in the Quaid-e-Azam Trophy and has recently smashed 78, 60, 268 and 103 respectively, amassing 530 runs at an average of 75.71. Akmal explained that he hasn't made any major changes to his approach, rather tweaked a few minor things with his coaches.
"I've addressed some of the basics, especially those things that went wrong for me in England. I've watched a lot of the videos and we've analysed some of the errors. I've been working hard with the National Bank coaches including Mohammad Jamil, who has been very helpful. Ijaz Ahmed and Waqar Younis have also been of great help with words of advice and guidance. It's just as frustrating for me as it is for the fans and teammates when I make a mistake."
Akmal's opening partnership with Mohammad Hafeez in the one day series against England gave Pakistan some excellent starts, however throughout his career it has been Kamran Akmal's wicketkeeping that has let him down. Akmal though puts the mistakes down to issues of the mind, rather than technical problems.
"At this level of the game, it's the mental side of the game that quite often causes mistakes or a loss of form. I need to be mentally more tougher and to address this aspect of my game."
Kamran's younger brother Adnan was chosen as the wicketkeeper for the Test matches against South Africa and Zulqarnain Haider was chosen for the one day series. However, it is widely expected that Kamran will be back at least for the one day and Twenty20 matches against New Zealand. Kamran though is taking nothing for granted as he looks to launch another comeback to international cricket.
"When I wasn't chosen for the series versus South Africa, I decided that I would look to regain my form and confidence in domestic cricket. I'm really pleased with how it's gone. I've enjoyed my cricket, I've managed to score plenty of runs and I have been happy with my form behind the stumps. It's gone really well and now it's down to others to decide whether I've done enough to warrant re-selection."
Akmal hopes that the selectors and Board take note of his fine form and provide him with another opportunity to represent Pakistan.
"My dropping was up to the Board and selectors and was out of my control. At the end of the day, the selectors choose who they think deserves a chance and they choose who they think are the best group of players available to them, and I have no problem with that. I've never compromised on my determination and hard work to be Pakistan's number one wicketkeeper/batsman and that will always be the case. I am more determined than ever to reclaim my place in the Pakistan side and whether that is as a keeper/batsman or purely as a batsman, that is down to the selectors and team management. I am comfortable if the selectors and management want me to play purely as a batsman."
Mohsin Khan and his selection committee are due to meet soon to choose the squads for the tour of New Zealand as well as the preliminary 30 man squad for the World Cup and given Kamran Akmal's recent form, he seems to be a definite choice for the World Cup. However the issue of whether Akmal senior or Akmal junior wears the gloves for the tour of New Zealand would present the selectors with a tougher decision.
(Article: The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author only.
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