LAHORE - Umar Akmal’s is regarded as a limited-overs specialist, but it’s on the Test stage that the right-hander wants to shine.
Akmal has had mixed success during his 15-Test career, scoring a century on debut but then managed just six half centuries. However, the 21-year-old is determined to improve his standing in the five-day game. “Test cricket is the pinnacle for any cricketer. One day and Twenty over cricket are also very popular but Test cricket is the real deal,” Akmal was quoted by PakPassion as saying. “Test cricket is where I really want to make my name and that format of the game is where I feel I can achieve the most. I want to improve my record in Test cricket and become a better Test batsman. “I’ve only played 15 Tests and am still learning the game but I feel I can definitely make great strides in the longer format of the game and show my worth and prove to everyone that I have the skill and temperament to play five day cricket,” he said.
Having just returned home from Pakistan’s tour to the Caribbean, Akmal admitted that he didn’t perform quite as well as he would have liked, notching up 166 runs at an average of 41.50 in the two Test matches and scoring 71 runs at 35.50 in the four ODIs. “I felt the tour could have gone better for me,” he conceded.
“I’m not satisfied with my performance in the Caribbean, but again not totally unhappy with it. It was an average tour but I need to move on and look ahead to the future.” Reflecting back on Pakistan’s World Cup campaign, in which Waqar Younis’ men reached the semi-finals, Akmal said that although they weren’t able to secure the silverware, they still exceeded expectations.
“We played some wonderful cricket at the World Cup,” he said.
“Nobody expected us to reach the semi-finals, but we all pulled together and worked hard as a unit. The coach, the management, the captain and all the players really deserve a lot of praise for their efforts. “We wanted to prove the critics wrong and take the trophy to Pakistan for the people of Pakistan and all Pakistanis around the world, but it wasn’t meant to be, although nobody can say that the match was entirely one sided. We did our best, but it wasn’t good enough on the day,” he added.
“It was a great opportunity for Pakistan cricket to show the world what we can achieve and these opportunities don’t come around too often.”