Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo
Pakistan head coach Mickey Arthur has opened up on why veteran batsman Kamran Akmal, all-rounder Mohammad Hafeez and left-arm seamer Wahaz Riaz were snubbed for the upcoming three-match Twenty20 series against the West Indies.
Akmal excelled during the recently concluded Pakistan Super League (PSL) as he finished as the tournament’s second-highest scorer with 425 runs at an average of 38.63.
Even though Arthur acknowledged that Akmal has been in red-hot form with the bat, he pointed out that the 36-year-old’s fielding standards are not up to par.
“Kamran Akmal is a very good batsman, but unfortunately he can’t field,” Arthur was quoted as saying by The Nation. “We [already] have Sarfraz Ahmed as our wicketkeeper. Fielding is non-negotiable. If you can’t field, you can’t play for Pakistan. Simple as that.”
As for Hafeez, Arthur pointed out that the 37-year-old was reported for a suspect action back in October.
“If Hafeez is bowling, that’s great. But if not, then that’s a problem,” he said.
When asked about Rahat Ali being picked over Wahab, who was the joint-highest wicket-taker in the PSL with 18 victims at an average of 19.11, Arthur said: “Rahat Ali bowled really well [in PSL]. There’s [plenty of] Test cricket coming up.”
Arthur also admitted that he is excited to see how the uncapped trio of Asif Ali, Hussain Talat and Shaheen Afridi will fare against the West Indies.
“These guys have brought fresh energy to the squad. We have a very strong squad, with all the in-form players. All of them are going to get equal chances,” he said.
Even though many of the West Indies’ high-profile players will miss the series, Arthur made it clear that his side won’t underestimate them.
“Big names or not, West Indies are a very proud cricket nation, and their youngsters will perform [to their best]. It will be a good series,” he said.
The three-match Twenty20 series will be held on April 1, 2 and 3 at the National Stadium in Karachi. The series will also mark the first time Karachi has held international cricket since 2009.