Kamran Akmal has had his days with the national side and is still a key figure in Pakistan’s domestic setup. Despite consistent performances in the Pakistan Super League and first-class cricket, where he is representing WAPDA, he has not been considered for national selection. The trend of selectors and coaches picking up young and emerging players has not helped Kamran's cause either.
“From the time I started playing domestic cricket, pitches have always been the same. Our players have become world-class playing on these difficult pitches. Having said that, I believe Kookaburra balls should be used in our domestic cricket. This way our players, both bowlers and batsmen, will also get used to playing with them. Bowling will get a little tougher, which is not the case with the balls being used. It’s easier to dismiss the batsmen this way since the pitches are more seaming.”
The 36-year-old emphasised on the importance of improving standards of domestic cricket. “Domestic cricket should be given its due importance. The grounds should be improved unlike the one in Islamabad, where we played during this domestic season. If these conditions persist, domestic cricket and its standard will go down drastically.
“Other than that, our domestic cricket should be played on Test venues only. It is a huge concern of the present day which needs to be addressed by the PCB. The grounds must be visited prior to the schedule setting. The onus is on the board to take strict measures since the teams have reported various issues with the grounds they have played on.”
The veteran wicket-keeper batsman brought forward Mohammad Abbas as the prime example of someone working his socks off in domestic cricket and eventually making a name for himself in the international arena.
“We have Abbas' example in front of us. He has been playing domestic cricket for the past 6-7 years now. He took 17 wickets in 2 Test matches in the UAE recently. It is hard to comprehend since a lot of great bowler have failed to picked up wickets on those pitches. It is a huge achievement for him and for our domestic cricket. Domestic cricket should be given its due importance. Players must not be picked on the back of one or two decent innings only.
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“The standard of our domestic cricket has gone very low because we do not give it enough importance unlike rest of the world, where players are selected on the basis of their domestic performances. It is very unfortunate that for two or three years, this performance of players in domestic cricket, has been ignored. Even though it is the one which makes the player who he is."
Kamran Akmal stayed tight-lipped on the question of the prospect of his comeback into the national team.
"It is not for me to answer. Players should not be asked this question since it is totally up to the selectors to build a squad. Our coach Mickey Arthur and the captain must be asked about team selection."
Kamran Akmal represented Pakistan in 268 international matches, scoring 6871 runs in total. His last stint with the national team came against West Indies in 2017. Kamran was also influential for Peshawar Zalmi during the third edition of the Pakistan Super League, amassing 425 runs in 13 innings, with the highest score of 107* against Lahore Qalandars.