Umar Akmal was handed a three-year-ban on Monday after being charged with the anti-corruption code for failing to report corrupt approaches in the Pakistan Super League (PSL). But ever since he burst on to the scene as a 19-year-old, Akmal was heralded as a potential star courtesy of his flamboyant strokeplay.
In his debut Test against New Zealand, Akmal hit 129 runs from 160 balls becoming only the second Pakistani to score a hundred on debut away from home after Fawad Alam. Continuing his impressive form that season, the right-hander impressed quite a few veterans of the game with his technique and exuberance.
Take for example this passage of play from the first Test of Pakistan’s tour of Australia at Melbourne in 2009. A 19-year-old Akmal came into bat under immense pressure with his team reeling at 109/4 in reply to Australia’s 454/4 in the first innings.
But some of the shots he played left veterans like Richie Benaud, Tony Greig and Michael Slater in awe.
“I am very impressed by this young man,” said Benaud.
“Only 19 years of age but is quick on his feet who loves to play shots. He is a very nice young man and a positive player as well,” said Greig while Slater went on to praise him saying, “He is a batsman, a lovely mix of Sachin Tendulkar and Javed Miandad.”
While Pakistan was beaten convincingly by 170 runs, Akmal returned with an impressive score of 51 from 80 deliveries which featured nine blazing boundaries and a terrific six over mid-wicket off Peter Siddle.
For someone who was touted as the next big thing in Pakistan cricket and a mix of Tendulkar and Miandad, it is indeed sad that Akmal is now fading into oblivion.
For those who don’t understand what a precocious little talent this man was at the beginning of his career, here’s a small passage of play to remind you. Listen to the commentary. “Impressive”, “Gifted”, “Lovely mix of Sachin and Miandad”
So much promise. All down the drain. pic.twitter.com/Q4rNJybXJk
— RandomCricketPhotos&Videos (@RandomCricketP1) April 27, 2020
Incidentally, Miandad reacted to Akmal’s ban and said that he had warned the 29-year-old to mend his ways and not indulge in corrupt practices but the cricketer did not take care of himself.
“I had told Umar Akmal before to mend his ways and to not indulge in such activities. Today all we can do is regret this, but the fact is that he was a very talented player, Allah gave him everything, but he did not take care of himself,” Miandad was quoted as saying by journalist Saj Sadiq.
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