KARACHI: Middle-order batsman Umar Akmal has been out of contention for the national selection since the ICC World T20 earlier this year due to ‘disciplinary issues’.
However, the upcoming three-match Twenty20 International (T20I) series between Pakistan and the West Indies in United Arab Emirates (UAE) will see the flamboyant batsman return to the national side after a five month hiatus.
Akmal, who last donned Pakistan colours in March, aims a controversy free comeback to the national side.
“My aim is to make a controversy free comeback.
“The last few months have been very hard on me because I was out of the team. However, playing in Caribbean Premier League (CPL) helped me to remain focused,” the 26-year-old told DawnNews in an exclusive interview.
“The upcoming series against Windies is very important for me. I want to help the team win so I can regain a spot in the One-Day International line-up.
Akmal is in prime form in the shorter format, having struck 304 runs at a staggering average of 101 runs in six contests for Lahore Whites in the ongoing National T20 Cup.
He scored a brilliant 115 not-out from 48 balls at a telling rate of 239 on Monday, plundering Yasir Arafat for 34 runs in an over — hitting five sixes and a four to complete his century.
“I thank Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) for granting me a No-Objection Certificate (NOC) for CPL. My run in the league helped me to score runs in the domestic T20 cup which got me selected for the national side,” he said, adding, “I thank PCB Chairman Shahryar Khan for giving me confidence.”
Akmal, who averages 26.80 in 79 T20I, said his ultimate desire is to wear Pakistan’s golden star on his chest in the Test format.
“I want to end my cricket career like Pakistan batting greats — Javed Miandad, Zaheer Abbas, Younis Khan, Inzamam ul Haq, and Misbah ul Haq.”