PCB hits back at Umar Akmal’s ‘bogus attempt’

Umar Akmal
Akmal, in a media outburst on Thursday, said Arthur addressed him using abusive language. — AFP/File
Shukriya Pakistan

The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) on Friday responded to allegations put by batsman Umar Akmal on national team Head Coach Mickey Arthur, calling them a “bogus attempt to deviate attention from his own failings”.

The right-hander, in a media outburst on Thursday, said Arthur addressed him using abusive language in front of Chief Selector Inzamam-ul-Haq after he wished to train at the National Cricket Academy.

“He told me I can’t train at the academy and that I should go and play club cricket,” Akmal said.

The PCB, however, condemned Akmal’s allegations and regarded them as totally ‘baseless’.

“While making frivolous allegations against the national team management, Umar has made a bogus attempt to deviate attention from his own failings,” said a press release by the board.

Akmal, who has a history of finding himself surrounded by controversy since he made his international debut in 2009, was dropped from the Pakistan squad right before the ICC Champions Trophy in June after he failed to clear an on-tour fitness test.

The PCB statement said the Lahore-born cricketer was given several opportunities to prove his fitness and cement his place in the national side but failed to do so.

“Umar was given a program to improve his fitness like other players before the West Indies tour and after he failed the tests in Lahore, he was left out of the team,” said the PCB statement.

“After clearing another test before the squad selection on eve of the ICC Champions Trophy in England, Umar was included in the eventual 15 member squad.”

“The PCB wants to stress that the team trainer conducts fitness tests of squad members before each international assignment and the tests before the Champions Trophy were conducted as a continuation of the policy.”

“Once again Umar failed to attain the desired level of fitness and the team management was left with no option but to drop him from the squad.”

The PCB said Umar Akmal was favoured by Mickey Arthur for selection in the shorter formats of the game but his fitness issues played a major part in his failure to feature regularly in the Pakistan green.

“Head Coach Mickey Arthur had placed Umar in his white ball format plans and gave him repeated chances for redemption, unfortunately, though the batsman remained incapable of reaching the requisite fitness level,” said the press release.

The board had already issued a show-cause notice to Akmal for his comments on Thursday and expects him to file a reply within the next six days.