Thursday, 19 July 2012
By Muhammad Asif Khan
KARACHI: Some people call him a wicket-keeper, while others consider him as a ball-stopper only. In whatever case, Kamran Akmal has been in the news for all the wrong reasons. Ever since his emergence on the scene he is considered as a dependable batsman but at the same time is seen as a dodgy glove-man.
When he was away, people wanted to know the reason, now when he has made his way back to the team, the cricketing world is curious again.
The 30-year old Wicket-keeper batsman was accused of deliberately under-performing during Pakistan’s defeat against Australia in the 2010 Sydney Test. After the tour, a probe committee was constituted by the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB), which recorded statements of players and officials. During the inquiry it was suspected that Akmal deliberately under-performed and failed to run Shane Watson out and dropped three chances on Michael Hussey during the Sydney test.
Kamran Akmal’s name was mentioned at the notorious spot-fixing trial in England as well, but was neither summoned by the London court nor banned by the International Cricket Council (ICC).
Before his inclusion in the 15-member national T20 squad, the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) stated that the wicket-keeper was summoned by the Integrity Committee and asked to submit some material.
A source closed to the development has revealed to this correspondent that during the meeting the members of the integrity committee were not entirely satisfied with Akmal’s viewpoint; however they had no other choice but to provide him with a clean chit. “A great deal of suspicion on him was there, but he could not be penalised on the basis of severe doubts only. We needed concrete evidence, which was not there against him.” said the source.
“The selection committee also wanted his services while the Anti-corruption and Security Unit of the ICC had already given him the clearance, hence there was no room left to clamp him”, concludes the source.
A 53-test veteran, Akmal, was axed from the team after a dismal keeping behind the stumps at the World Cup in 2011 where he dropped New Zealand’s Ross Taylor twice in one over.
Despite the allegations, Kamran claimed to have a clearance letter from the ICC saying he is not being investigated.
Since his debut in 2002, Kamran Akmal has played 53 Tests, 137 ODIs and 38 T20Is matches for Pakistan.
The writer is a sports journalist in Pakistan, heads the sports department at News One TV & tweets @mak_asif