Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo
Former Pakistan wicketkeeper-batsman Moin Khan firmly believes that Umar Akmal and Ahmed Shehzad still have bright futures ahead of them.
Akmal and Shehzad have been in and out of the national team due to a string of disciplinary issues.
Akmal was banned for three matches and fined PKR 1 million after becoming involved in a heated dispute with head coach Mickey Arthur, while Shehzad was banned for five-and-a-half months last year for violating the Pakistan Cricket Board’s (PCB) anti-doping rules twice.
Despite this, both players have been excelling in the ongoing Pakistan Super League (PSL), where they are playing for the Quetta Gladiators, who are being coached by Moin.
Akmal has scored 228 runs in nine matches, which includes two half-centuries, at an average of 38.
As for Shehzad, he has accumulated 153 runs in five games, which also included two fifties, at an average of 38.25.
Given Akmal’s fine run of form, he was recalled for the upcoming ODI series against Australia in the United Arab Emirates later this month.
“Pakistan knows how talented both players are, they are too good especially in this format,” Moin was quoted as saying by ESPNcricinfo. “You know when a player has the ability and can deliver not only for your team but for Pakistan also, and I personally believe both are deserving players.
“They are the kind of players who can walk into the Pakistan team anytime and Umar gave that example recently. Unfortunately, Ahmed wasn’t in form earlier but later he also came into form.
“Coaches aren’t only supposed to diagnose the disease but should provide the treatment as well. Unfortunately, whatever happened with these kids earlier…they are good players and our assets. So all we did was treated them right and gave them the due respect.
“If a player is given the respect he deserves then I don’t think there is any reason for him to not perform well. They have behaved well throughout the tournament, they have a good discipline and that’s why they are performing. So with a clear mind I can say that if both keeping doing this, they can be in the Pakistan team in the future.”
Meanwhile, Moin also supported the decision to rest captain Sarfraz Ahmed for the ODI series against Australia.
However, Sarfraz was not the only high-profile player rested as Babar Azam, Shaheen Afridi, Fakhar Zaman, Shadab Khan and Hasan Ali will also miss the series.
“Every decision is right if it has the consent of all parties,” he said. “I don’t think that such a big decision would have been taken by the selection committee without speaking to him (Sarfraz). I think rest is important for Sarfraz as he has been playing a lot of cricket continuously for the last five to six months.
“In the PSL, it’s our requirement to play him but when you are planning for a bigger prospect [like World Cup] then a player needs rest at some point. So this decision is with a mutual understanding and I support it.
“One thing that might be important is that he should have been with the [Pakistan] team even while resting, and be a part of all the decision making during the Australia series. We all know he is our World Cup captain and everything should be happening around him. Ideally, he should have been with the team [as a non-playing member] but it’s still okay now that the team is announced.”