Umar Akmal vows to slug it out like Younis

Umar Akmal
Umar Akmal says he will take inspiration from Younis Khan to fight off difficulties. — AFP/File

Pakistan batsman Umar Akmal is committed to bring the best out of himself after his career received yet another major blow earlier this week.

The right-hander was dropped from the national squad for the upcoming ICC Champions Trophy and sent back home from England after he failed a fitness test.

The dropping took place in an unusual manner as Akmal was declared fit by the selectors at home before naming him for the mega-event.

However, the 28-year-old, inspired by former Pakistan batsman Younis Khan, vowed to only look forward and re-earn his place in the national side.

“My role model is Younis Khan, and even when he faced difficulties, he became even more determined,” said Akmal in a television interview.

Younis recently retired from international cricket after becoming the first Pakistani batsman to score 10,000 Test runs. Arguably the best with bat in the country, the Mardan-born cricketer’s career has seen its fair share of turmoil.

The 39-year-old was ripped off from captaincy of the national side after he failed to control infighting within the team — which also hurt his relationship with the Pakistan Cricket Board. The right-hander was also known for being moody and blunt.

Akmal, despite introducing himself in international cricket with a century in his second ODI in 2009 and a ton on his Test debut in the same year, has failed to keep his career away from controversy.

The Lahore-born batsman has had issues related to everything ranging from fitness to discipline and performance.

The latest blow, Akmal said, will not bring him down.

“I am now determined to come back more than ever,” said the hard-hitting batsman.

Akmal also ‘asked for forgiveness of all fans who have been hurt by my conduct’.

“Cricket is my bread and butter, and therefore I will try and fulfil whatever requirements the PCB has to allow me to return,” he added.

Left-hander Haris Sohail was sent to England as Akmal’s replacement and might feature when Pakistan take on India on June 4.

“I want to wish Haris Sohail best of luck,” he said.

Pakistan, after facing India, will take on Sri Lanka and South Africa on June 7 and 12 respectively.