LAHORE: Pakistan Coach Mickey Arthur on Thursday chose to not put his weight behind Kamran Akmal despite the Zalmi opener’s blistering back-to-back performances in the ongoing Pakistan Super League.
Akmal, who has now become the leading run scorer of PSL, made 77 off 27 deliveries to propel defending champions Peshawar Zalmi into the PSL final, as they beat Karachi Kings by 13 runs at the Gaddafi stadium in Lahore on Wednesday.
Akmal played for Pakistan in the series against West Indies in April 2017, making a return to the national squad after becoming the top run-scorer in the last PSL tournament. But he has not been part of the national squad since then.
Speaking at the post-match press conference, Arthur complimented the Zalmi opener by saying that “he batted outstandingly, and is a really good batsman”, but then immediately questioned Akmal’s fielding talent.
“To play international cricket you gotta be able to do three disciplines very well. He was poor in the field in the last West Indies tour, I am not sure if I have seen like it to change,” said the Pakistan coach.
Resemblance between Shaheen Shah and Mitchel Starc
Arthur named Hussain Talat, Asif Ali, Agha Salman and Shaheen Shah Afridi as the find of this season’s PSL.
“Hussain Talat played some really good inning, Asif Ali has shown to be a very explosive hitter, we need to have another closer look at him, I have heard that Agha Salman play really well,” he said.
The national team coach was impressed by the performance of fast bowler Shaheen Shah Afridi, and complemented the seventeen-year-old by putting him in the league of Australian fast bowler Mitchell Starc.
“He is going to be a good bowler, this is the guy we need to get into our emerging system so that we can work really hard with him and if we can put a couple of years into him, he is going to be exceptional, adding, “I have the privilege of seeing Mitchel Stark when he was very young. There is a very close resemblance between them. He just needs right coaching, the right training, he is gonna be a star.”
Responding to a question, Arthur said that he chose Amir to lead Kings in the game against Zalmi as he wanted to give another Pakistan player an opportunity to lead a team.
“By giving Amir opportunity we gave another Pakistan player an opportunity to lead a team. Perhaps we have found something near to his character which he can take forward,” he added.
The Kings coach blamed poor bowling and injuries of Shahid Afridi and Imad Wasim to be the reason behind the loss in the eliminator.