Akmal: I see myself playing for another five years

“I still have four to five years cricket in me”

Image courtesy of: Zimbio

Out-of-favour wicketkeeper-batsman Kamran Akmal believes that he can still play cricket for another five years and is confident of his chances of representing Pakistan in the 2019 World Cup.

Akmal is currently taking part in a training camp at Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore ahead of Pakistan’s tour of the West Indies.

With a possible international comeback on the cards, Akmal pointed out that he deserves to don his country’s jersey once again as he is coming off a superb domestic season, where he excelled in all three formats.

“I am training very hard and believe in my hard work, which will certainly pay off. I still have four to five years cricket in me and I can play till the next World Cup with high levels of fitness and form,” he said. “In the last two domestic seasons, my performances were outstanding and same was the case in the PSL. It was all I could do, and now it is up to the selectors to decide about my inclusion.

“I am positive about booking my berth in the national team and if selected, I will prove my selection right by utilizing all my skills to give my best and play a key role to help the team register crucial victories.”

The 35-year-old also believes that he can be an asset to Pakistan in Tests, ODIs and Twenty20 Internationals.

“Playing as a specialist batsman, I can be very handy for the team, which I have already proved in the recently concluded Pakistan Super League, where I was named as the best batsman, and this achievement widely speaks about my hard work and spirit,” he added.

Akmal holds the same role as current Pakistan Twenty20 and ODI captain Sarfraz Ahmed, but the Lahore native insisted that he will let Sarfraz keep hold of the wicketkeeping duties as he wants to get back in the team as a specialist batsman.

“I have no comparison with Sarfraz, who is not only a good wicketkeeper and batsman but also a very talented captain, so no one takes his place. If selected, I would prefer to play as a specialist batsman,” he said.

After losing his place in the national team in April 2014, Akmal revealed that he worked harder on his game and fitness levels.

“I never give up, so when I was axed, I set my aims and goals and worked really hard for them,” he said. “I kept on piling up runs in the domestic seasons and also performed well in the PSL, which will certainly help me get back a place as a specialist batsman in the national team.

“I am in good form and my fitness level is high. I have recently taken fitness tests, for which I am confident enough to pass. While during the last four days, I never wore gloves for a single time, instead I am focusing on improving my fielding, and working hard on fielding improvement sessions.”

Akmal also conceded that he continues to learn more about himself and the game every day.

“I am still in a phase of learning so that’s why I am getting batting tips and guidance from top cricketers of this era including Inzamam-ul-Haq, Mohammad Yousaf and Younus Khan,” he said. “I also continued to work out with NCA coach Mansoor Rana and head Mudassar Nazar in my leisure time, which helped a lot in improving my game and skills.”

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