Pakistan international player Umar Akmal, who was omitted from Pakistan’s Champions Trophy squad owing to two failed fitness tests, has apologized to his fans and expressed determination to make yet another come back to the national team. Haris Sohail has been included in Pakistan’s Champions Trophy squad as a replacement for Umar Akmal, the PCB confirmed on Tuesday (May 23).
“Firstly, I want to wish Haris best of luck,” Umar said according to ESPNCricinfo.
“I also want to thank Inzi bhai for conducting a fitness Test in Pakistan. I was also appointed captain of the Punjab team in the Pakistan Cup. Cricket is my bread and butter, and therefore I will try and fulfil whatever requirements the PCB has to allow me to return. Regardless of whether I’m with the team or not, my best wishes will always be with them.”
Akmal, who had been included in the Champions Trophy squad after previously being dropped in the aftermath of Pakistan’s 4-1 ODI series lost to Australia earlier this year, was also instructed by the PCB to travel home from England.
“I want to ask forgiveness of all fans who have been hurt by my conduct. I am ready to commit to cricket. I still have a lot of cricket left in me and I aim to make another international comeback. I am even more focused on cricket now.
Quick Read: Haris Sohail included in Champions Trophy squad
“My role model is Younis Khan, and even when he faced difficulties, he became even more determined. In the same way, I am now determined to come back more than ever.”
The PCB, in the recent past, has backed the selectors and the team management to enforce strict measures in order to uplift the fitness standards.
“We had a set a fitness standard which isn’t really a tough one to start with,” chief selector Inzamam-ul-Haq said according to ESPNCricinfo.
“But he still didn’t meet the average level. So whoever the player is, whatever his performance is like, we could not select him. Akmal being dropped is a reprimand and it’s a major blow for any player. He is a good player, we needed him, but we had to take a decision.”
The 26-year-old made a scintillating start to international cricket with a century in just his third ODI and another one on first Test appearance, but his lack of concentration on-field and undisciplined behavior off it meant he could never really cement his place in Pakistan team since his promising debut in 2009. He has played 16 Tests, 116 ODIs and 82 T20Is for Pakistan.