If there’s one man in Pakistan cricket who can make a drama out of anything, it is Umar Akmal. He does know how to stay in the news, unfortunately for all the bad reasons.
Umar Akmal has found himself at the center of yet another controversy after he accused Mickey Arthur, Head Coach of the National Cricket Team of using abusive language against him in a press conference on Wednesday.
Umar Akmal’s career is full of highs and lows, probably more lows than highs. The list of his blunders and misconducts goes long, starting from faking an injury to prevent his brother Kamran Akmal from being dropped from the test side in 2010 to the latest controversy with Mickey Arthur.
It all began with the rift between the two when Umar Akmal was sent back from England, after being included in the Champions Trophy squad, on account of failing his fitness test. Mickey Arthur recently warned Umar Akmal about his fitness issues saying that “the ball is in his court”.
Talking to the media Umar had this to say about the latest issue:
He [Arthur] shouldn’t be swearing at me like that, it is like he’s abusing all of Pakistan. You look at any cricket match, and you’ll see he’s swearing at one player or the other. I want to reveal this to the public and to all my fans.
I request the chairman to take this issue very seriously. When the head coach is allowed to swear at someone whenever they wish, that is unacceptable. As a Pakistani, I could not stomach it.
In response to Akmal’s press conference, the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has issued a show-cause notice to him, asking him to respond within a fortnight.
Arthur confirmed that he had talked with Umar Akmal regarding his fitness issues and that he had to earn back the right to practice at the National Cricket Academy (NCA), saying:
I did tell him [Akmal] a few home truths and said he was always looking for excuses instead of looking at himself. I also told him that he had to earn the right to use our support staff because he is not a contracted cricketer.
He can’t just walk in here and demand what he wants.
The NCA issue was triggered when Umar Akmal skipped the High Performers’ Camp saying that he was suffering from a knee injury. Umar said:
I didn’t tell the NCA about the injury because I was on tour when it occurred. I told the team doctor, who said straightaway it would need an operation. I believed all I needed was rehab, and asked him to advise me about exercises that I could do, and said I’d be willing to do them.
Arthur has brushed aside Umar Akmal’s claims of abusive language and has told the media that he has refused him to allow NCA facilities. He said:
Umar wanted to use services of Grant Flower for batting. I told him he must first earn the right to go and play club cricket since he is not under PCB contract anymore.
A PCB official also denied the allegations by Umar Akmal and said:
Though Umar is not a centrally-contracted player, as a domestic cricketer he has to follow PCB rules and regulations.
This is not looking good for Umar Akmal and his only chance of getting back in the team was to prove his fitness. Arthur, on the other hand, is in a strong position following his Champions Trophy winning campaign earlier this year with the Pakistan National team.
The Pakistani cricket fans and even the general public had a lot to say about the recent rift over social media. Here’s what they had to say:
Umar Akmal's presser against Arthur was as ill advised as Nawaz's Qatari Letter. His GT Road drama, and his rhetorical "کیوں نکالا مجھے" 😂
— Socially Isolated (@Umar_Khan10) August 16, 2017
Afridi & Waqar dint made Bat up order, Basit argued in domestic, Junaid dint listened in PakCup & MickeyArthur abused- INNOCENT #UmarAkmal 👌
— Arfa Feroz Zake (@ArfaSays_) August 16, 2017
Umar Akmal = Mickey Arthur Abused me infront of Senior players.
Me: Oh terey Kartoot hi aisey hain, Moorundy k mau waly 😂😂😂 pic.twitter.com/nKjjdXAp5y
— محترم وقاص امجد (@Waqas_amjad) August 16, 2017
Mickey Arthur has done what no other coach (local or foreign) could do! All dirty linen like Umar Akmal must be removed from the closet.
— Shehryar Qadir (@ShehryarQadir) August 16, 2017
Umar Akmal is stupid and arrogant, blaming his failures on others ! Any chance he had to get back in the national team has forever been lost
— Coral Batey (@coralb95) August 16, 2017
Only international century Umar Akmal has scored in last 7 years is against Afghanistan & some people still think he's world class.
— Osama. (@ashaqeens) August 16, 2017
The facts. Umar Akmal last few years:
Centuries – none
Matchwinning performances – a rarity
Controversies – far too many#Cricket
— Saj Sadiq (@SajSadiqCricket) August 16, 2017
— Umer (@voiceofkolachi) August 16, 2017
What do you think about the controversy? Sound off in the comments below.