by Shashi Agarwal
Starting phase of his career
Umar Akmal came into the Pakistan team with the reputation of being the next big thing in Pakistan cricket.He did his reputation no harm by scoring a century in his debut test match against NewZealand.In the ODIs too , he started big by scoring a century in the 2nd match and a century in the third match of his career.But soon he lost his touch and has been in and out of the team.A lot of it has to go to the policies and management of the Pakistani cricket team.
The right way
The way Pakistan treated Umar Akmal was definetely not what he deserved. He was left to bat lower down the order, with the seniors in the team occupying the positions in the top order, no matter whether they deserved it or not.The right way was how Ganguly went on with Sehwag, realising the potential in him and asking him to open the innings and sacrifycing the spot. It was done when Ganguly and Sachin were considered most dangerous opening combo.
Problems with Umar Akmal
Umar Akmal, coming at 6 or 7 mainly gets a chance when he has to go bang from the ball 1 or when the team is in deep trouble.The ever inconsistent Pakistani middle order leaves him to play mainly with 0(Afridi) and the lower order.One cannot always expect the lower order to stay with him and build a partnership.It ultimately leads him to go for quick fire runs and the quick 30 or 40 is not what he is good at.Otherwise he has to make up for the slow start , due to the slow start by the top order.To be fare Umar Akmal got few chances at the top but he could not make it count.But he deserved a longer run, especilly when the others were also failing. He is best suited at NO.3 , atleast in limited overs cricket given the good technique he has and the range of strokes he possess.It won’t be a problem if he takes time to settle because one knows that he can make up for it any time. Hoping that Pakistan uses him better or it will be a waste of talent.He has definetely all the makings of great batsman and its all upto the Pakistan management to utilise him properly.