Kamran Akmal, the former Pakistan wicketkeeper-batsman sought answers from the selectors over his non-selection in the national team despite scoring heavily in domestic cricket in the last two years.
Kamran, 35, has been a top run-getter in all three formats, with 1,035 runs in nine Quaid-e-Azam Trophy matches in first-class cricket, backed up by 361 runs in eight National one-day cup matches. He also scored 260 runs in eight Twenty20 matches last year.
He compiled a match-winning 88 against Islamabad United in Peshawar Zalmi’s opening match in the second edition of the Pakistan Super League, and scored another match-winning 58 against Lahore Qalandars on Friday (February 24).
After the innings, he was asked why the selectors were not recalling him to the Pakistan team. “I don’t know. The best answer can come from selectors,” said Kamran. “I think I have not done anything. Thanks Almighty I have done so much so they are the ones who should answer. A batsman can only score runs and that I have done.”
Inzamam-ul-Haq, the chief selectors, admitted last year that Kamran’s name came up for consideration. However, the Pakistan team management reportedly rejected his candidature for the one-day series against Australia last year and demanded Mohamad Hafeez’s inclusion instead.
Kamran demanded clarification over his non-selection.
“They also should tell the reason for not considering me,” he said. “It’s not just me but for all those who are playing and performing in domestic cricket. The only reason for not considering any player should be the fitness and performance. But I am doing everything to make a point for my selection,” said Kamran, whose last appearance for Pakistan was in the World Twenty20 2014.
He has played 53 Tests, 154 ODIs and 54 T20Is for Pakistan.
“In every team three wicketkeepers are playing, some are even playing as batsmen. I have performed with the bat and it’s not that I am just making my case only as wicketkeeper-batsman.
“I am trying to make comeback, that’s why I am playing cricket. It’s my passion to play for Pakistan and whatever it is, for four or five years of cricket left in me, I want to play it on top for me and for my country.”
Kamran said he did meet Subhan Ahmed, the Pakistan Cricket Board chief operating officer, but was given no clear answers.
“I have been in talks with everyone during the domestic season and neither of anyone hinted against my selection. But they all were optimistic for me to make a comeback. They didn’t give me any reason for me not be taken back in the side, in fact they were pushing me to play hard and the selectors will definitely pick me up whenever they want.
“They also should tell the reason for not considering me. It’s not just me but for all those who are playing and performing in domestic cricket. The only reason for not considering any player should be the fitness and performance. But I am doing everything to make a point for my selection,” – Kamran Akmal.
“See it’s my objective to score runs and help the team and contribute in the success of the team. Like today, I have scored and helped my team and that’s the only thing I am focusing on because this is eventually going to help me get back into the Pakistan squad. Everything is in front of you, what else can I do?”
Kamran said he could match Younis Khan in his reaction to non-selection. On not getting selected in ODIs despite his good form in Tests in 2014, Younis had hit back at selectors, saying “should players like him shoot themselves”.
“The only thing left is to speak and like Younis bhai had done, so I have to say thing like him (to get attention). I mean I have done everything to make a point for my comeback, but let see how things go as the team (for Pakistan’s next series, a tour of the West Indies) hasn’t been announced yet.
“It’s disappointing as I am struggling (at not getting a chance to make a comeback) for the last three years. I have been doing all the hard work, scoring runs, there is no issue with my fitness. This is exactly what I have to do and I am doing well with it to stay relevant. The rest, the selectors and team management are in a better situation to speak about.
“It’s a challenge to remain focused all the way when you are not selected. I have done a lot of hard work and I can’t give up. I keep on pushing myself. I have an example of Misbah-ul-Haq – had he gien up he couldn’t have become the No. 1 captain. He made his comeback, led the team to No.1 and won a lot of matches for Pakistan. So until I am fit and performing he shouldn’t give up.”
Kamran said his family has been the motivating factor in these difficult times.
“My family motivated, my fans and my domestic teams all stood for me all the way. These are the things that encourage you and help you make a comeback. My passion is still alive and players like me need support and confidence.”