Pakistan batsman Umar Akmal is in England these days to sort matters surrounding his fitness that saw him miss the all-important ICC Champions Trophy last month. He has sought a five-week-long off from the National Cricket Academy to focus on his fitness with his trainer on the British shores.
Since his last ODI in January this year, Akmal’s inadequate fitness levels have kept him out of contention for the national side. He was the only player, out of 31, to fail a fitness test before Pakistan’s tour of the West Indies and then was sent back from England a week before the Champions Trophy, that Pakistan won, for failing another fitness-related test.
“It really hurt me to miss out on the Champions Trophy, especially considering the importance of the tournament,” Akmal told Express Tribune. “I have a lot of regret for not being part of a team that created history, but at the same time I am very happy for the boys. I admit that I had fitness issues and am trying to fix those in order to make a comeback.
“I have been working on my fitness here in England and my full focus is on cricket. I am putting in all my effort to fix this long-term issue.”
Akmal has been a controversial character over the years and Pakistan’s former coach Waqar Younis had often suggested against keeping him in the national side during his tenure.
“I have been concentrating on all the things that have made me fail in the past and I believe that has helped me improve,” Akmal further said.
Since his international debut in 2009, Akmal has scored at an average of 35 in Tests and ODIs, and 26 in the shorter format.
Captaining Punjab in the Pakistan Cup – country’s premier List-A tournament – in his most recent outing, Akmal struck one fifty (77) in the three innings he batted. His other scores were 0 and 36.