Kamran Akmal needs a break - Intikhab Alam
Pakistan coach Intikhab Alam has hinted Pakistan could make at least two changes for the upcoming third and final Test in Hobart, starting on January 14. Kamran Akmal, who dropped four catches in Australia's second innings in Sydney, is likely to make way for wicket-keeper Sarfraz Ahmed and Shoaib Malik might be drafted in for the struggling Misbah-ul-Haq.
Kamran's lapses proved costly for Pakistan in the second Test, which they lost by 36 runs while chasing just 176 to concede the series. Intikhab, who claimed he had not yet been made aware of Sarfraz being called in to join the squad, said Kamran needed a break from international cricket. "I don't know about it yet," he told the News when asked about the decision to include Sarfraz. "But I think it is a good decision because it has become quite clear with the way he (Akmal) performed in he Sydney Test that he needed to stay away from international cricket for a while.
"He is one of our main batsmen which is why we continued with him but in this Test he was really bad. I think he has been playing too much cricket."
Intikhab said Misbah's form was a worry and someone experienced, like Malik, would be a suitable replacement. Misbah began the Test series on an encouraging note with a half-century in Melbourne but flopped in Sydney with 11 in the first innings and a first-ball duck in Pakistan's capitulation in the second. "We are thinking about playing Malik in Hobart," Alam said. "Misbah is not in good form and we need somebody experienced to take his place if he is out of the team for the next Test."
There have been some positives for Pakistan despite the disappointing results, chiefly the emergence of Umar Akmal and Mohammad Aamer. Intikhab, while acknowledging Umar was a special talent, said the 19-year-old had to display more solidity to survive at the Test level. "He needs to learn from his mistakes. He should know that in Test cricket you can't just throw away your wicket. He will have to work on his defence."
Intikhab also criticised Danish Kaneria, who, despite his experience, has fallen short of being the match-winner Pakistan had expected him to be. Kaneria bagged a five-wicket haul in the second innings in Sydney, but conceded 151 runs. "He (Danish) has taken 250 wickets but he still can't read a situation accurately and bowl accordingly," he said.