It was the best knock of my career: Umar Akmal

Umar Akmal, who struck a career-best 94 on Sunday to help Pakistan defeat Australia by 16 runs in a high-scoring game at the World Twenty20, said he played the best innings of his cicketing career.

By (Agencies)

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Published: Tue 25 Mar 2014, 11:50 AM

Last updated: Fri 3 Apr 2015, 5:48 PM

Put in to bat by Australia, Pakistan scored an intimidating 191-5 and then dismissed Australia for 175 in 20 overs.

Akmal struck nine fours and four sixes during his sixth half-century. He shared a 96-run third-wicket stand with older brother Kamran Akmal, who scored a run-a-ball 31. The 23-year-old batting star termed the knock as his “best” yet.

“It is the best knock of my career because the kind of stress our team was under after losing the first match, for us it was important to win this match,” Umar said.

“The kind of free hand the management gave me to go out and express my abilities, I am thankful to them for that. I played my natural game and I was rewarded with a good score. We are taking it one match at a time. Our aim is to win every match we play. We lost the first match but our morale was kept high by the management.”

Umar also credited Pakistan’s bowlers for the rousing win.

“As a batting unit, we deserve a little bit of praise but it is the bowlers who did the job.” Pakistan lost their opening match to arch-rivals India on March 21 and their win over Australia put them back in the race for a semi-final spot.

Meanwhile, Pakistan Cricket Board put an end to speculations about Misbah-ul-Haq being replaced as captain of the one-day side when its chairman, Najam Sethi, made it clear that the senior batsman would remain at the helm because of his impressive record.

“Misbah has the better record compared to others so he will continue to remain the captain,” Sethi told reporters in Dhaka during the team’s match against Australia. Speculations have been rife that the present team management are more in favour of having Shahid Afridi as captain of the one-day squad before the next international assignments of the team which will be from October when Pakistan hosts Australia in the UAE. “Yes there has been talk that Afridi could be a better choice because of his more pro-active captaincy,” one source said.

But Sethi backed Misbah, saying he had done a good job of handling the team in tough times for Pakistan cricket. The PCB chief also said that in future players would be given six month central contracts instead of the present one-year contracts.

“We will give six month contracts because we want to assess performance of players in this period. The present contracts are ready and players who don’t perform in the World T20 will not be given new contracts,” he added.

The central contract carries a monthly salary of between 250,000 to 340,000 for the players besides their usual match and tour fees and other sponsorship and bonus amounts. Sethi said players would now have to give their best to get contracts.

“Fitness, discipline and performance of players will be monitored while giving out central contracts,” he stated. The PCB chief also said that the new selection committee has drawn up a plan to prepare the team and a pool of players for the World Cup in 2015 once the current World twenty20 tournament is over. He said the performance of the team management would also be reviewed after the World T20.

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