Image courtesy of: Unsplash
Umar Akmal said he has joined the club of a few Pakistan cricketers “who have been ignored at every turn”.
Once heralded as a future star when he first burst onto the international scene, Akmal’s career looked to be taking off.
With so much excitement and hype around him, the 32-year-old was unable to live up to the high expectations people had of him and his time as an international cricketer slowly fizzled out.
Even though he played for Pakistan again from time to time, he never did well enough to become a regular face in the team.
To make matters worse, he has been involved in a number of off-field issues throughout his career and was also banned for failing to report corrupt approaches ahead of the 2020 Pakistan Super League (PSL).
He was initially banned for three years, but it was halved to 18 months following an appeal in July 2020.
It was reduced once again to 12 months by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), but Akmal was also fined 4.25 million Pakistani rupees.
“I am among those rare cricketers of Pakistan who have been ignored at every turn,” he was quoted as saying by Cricket Pakistan.
Akmal has returned to the domestic circuit as he represented the Quetta Gladiators in this year’s PSL and scored 101 runs in five matches, which included a top score of 50, at an average of 20.20 and a strike-rate of 174.13.
He then mustered 135 runs in seven games for Central Punjab in the Pakistan Cup at an average of 19.28.
Currently, he is playing for the Jammu Janbaz in the Kashmir Premier League (KPL), where he has amassed 19 runs in three matches at an average of 9.50 and a strike-rate of 67.85.
While he still harbours hopes of playing for his country again, Akmal was not picked for the Netherlands ODI series or the Asia Cup.
Pakistan squad for Asia Cup: Babar Azam (captain), Shadab Khan (vice-captain), Asif Ali, Fakhar Zaman, Haider Ali, Haris Rauf, Iftikhar Ahmed, Khushdil Shah, Mohammad Nawaz, Mohammad Rizwan (wicketkeeper), Mohammad Wasim Jnr, Naseem Shah, Mohammad Hasnain, Shahnawaz Dahani, Usman Qadir