Umar Akmal left Pakistan mid-season to explore cricket league opportunities in America. He has signed a short-term agreement with the Northern California Cricket Association but is open to weighing his options, including a long-term agreement that undoes his loyalty to Pakistan cricket. Represents California Zalmi in the current Premier C League season.
Akmal was recently reinstated to cricket after ending his ban for violating the PCB Anti-Corruption Code.
The PCB helped him run his rehabilitation program, but his selection for the best national teams was put on hold.
It’s unclear if Akmal will miss the entire season, as the world-class Quaid-e-Azam Trophy will kick off on October 20 and the OneDay Cup will kick off on February 25. But since his future is uncertain and there are no buyers among the six provincial associations, he has decided to pursue his ambitions elsewhere. His family has confirmed that he has gone to the United States, but claims that his older brother Kamran played three of the Akmal brother’s test cricket for Pakistan was not involved in his decision-making.
One family member expressed the view that Umar Akmal had been subject to biased treatment. “There are a few others who were banned with bigger charges but given unprecedented support to make a comeback. The system was never fair to Umar. There were blatant compromises made to select a few players with poor fitness, but the benchmark was made tighter for him [Umar] to make sure keep him out.”
The family member did not name the players. But understanding that the PCB had relaxed its eligibility criteria. To include Azam Khan, Sohaib Maqsood, and Sharjeel Khan in the national lineup. However, the comparison with Akmal’s case is not entirely accurate. Given his troubled past with almost all the coaches. Who have taken the reins of the national team in the last 10 years. And Waqar Younis once wrote in the report that the sacrifice “one Umar Akmal will allow us to develop other players. Who can truly and proudly wear the star on their chest? And represent Pakistan”. He urged PCB to make Umar realize the worth of playing for Pakistan. And re-earn his place by playing domestic cricket.
He was asked to play for a second-team XI instead of a first-team XI. So he did not participate in the ongoing T20 National Cup. Which clashed with his expectation that he would return where he left off, on the level higher. After scoring 0, 14, 7, 16, and 29 for Central Punjab Second XI at the PCB Cricket Associations T20 tournament. He decided to walk away from national cricket, at least for the time being.
Akmal, 31, has received many fines throughout his career, but the recent ban hit him harder. After a lengthy legal battle with the PCB. His 18-month suspension was cut in six months by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS). Giving him an early return to representative cricket. He was originally suspend for three years because he had not reported on point-fix. Approaches prior to the start of PSL 2020.
He admitted part of the charges but never accepted the length of the sentence. The attorney cited previous similar cases to build a case in which others facing similar charges. Had been barred for a short period of time. After two appeals, one to the PCB arbitrator and one to CAS. His suspension was initially reduce to a year and a half and then to another six months.
Akmal’s career has been plague by various discipline problems that have often overshadow his cricket. He burst onto the international arena in 2009 when he was 19 years old. And it was very promising, scoring 129 and 75 in the test’s debut in New Zealand.
He too reach a century in just his third ODI and became a hot commodity overnight, apparently with Pakistan. Having a medium format hitter of all formats was gift with all the talents in the world. But his incoherence and his strained relationship with PCB and team management gradually led his career into a slump.
After 16 tests from 2009 to 2011, he never wore the Pakistan whites again, and although he continued to play 121 ODI and 84 T20I, his career seemed to have stalled in 2017, with a comeback in 2019 after taking over Misbah-ul-Haq as a Pakistan coach, which shows his worth.
Then in February 2020, hours before PSL’s season opener, he was suspend and his career was really wild.
Moving from Akmal to California could be the beginning of an exploration of longer-term opportunities in the US USA Cricket, together with its business partner ACE (American Cricket Enterprises), has stepped up its efforts to attract foreign professionals to its rosters of minor and major league cricket and to attract former international players over a three-year period to change their allegiance and represent the US.
Former Pakistan starter Sami Aslam is one of many players from different countries who took the deal and moved to the US And there are dozens of other cricketers in Pakistan who are open to taking a chance if offered. It has been confirming that Umar has not yet receive an offer, but his first visit to California could determine his career path.
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