Sydney debacle a 'scary dream' - Kamran Akmal
Akmal's keeping has come in for criticism in the recent past and reached its peak during the second innings in Sydney, when he dropped Michael Hussey thrice to give Australia an opportunity to sneak back into the match. Hussey scored a century and was involved in what turned out to be a match-winning partnership with Peter Siddle for the ninth wicket, as Pakistan capitulated in their chase of 176 to concede the series 2-0.
"It was from my point of view my worst performance in any match of my career. It was like a scary dream and I just want to get over it and now approach the rest of my career with a new resolve and positivity," Akmal was quoted as saying by Pakistan daily Jang.
For a period over 2004-05, including the last trip to Australia, Akmal's keeping was widely lauded. But during 2006, in particular the tour to England where he continued playing with an injured finger, his form dipped alarmingly, and he dropped a number of chances over the next two years. Sarfraz Ahmed will be joining the Pakistan squad for the third and final Test in Hobart, and it still remains to be seen if he will replace Akmal in the line-up. Pakistan coach, Intikhab Alam, yesterday, called for Akmal to take a break from international cricket given his form with the gloves.
Akmal, however, was determined to fight back and called on those criticising him for his performance to display some perspective by also taking his past performances into account. "It is fine and anybody's right to criticise me but to make my Sydney Test performance the basis for starting a campaign against me is not fair and neither ruin the interest of Pakistan cricket," he said. "I must want to quietly play and enjoy my cricket. I know my mistakes cost us the Test but no cricketer gives a bad performance on purpose and my critics should not forget I have played leading roles in many of Pakistan's past successes as well.
"I am ashamed of my performance as well and I apologies to the nation for this and I don't want to make any excuses but I am also confident that I am capable of hitting form again and doing well for my country."
Fitness, Akmal said, was not at all a problem for him and was not a reason for his poor display in Sydney. He added he would seek advice from Ian Healy and Rashid Latif, the former Pakistan wicketkeeper, on improving his skills.
"I am totally fit and I enjoy playing in all three forms of the game for my country. They are many other wicketkeepers who have played non stop cricket for their country people like MS Dhoni, Adam Gilchrist, Mark Boucher, Kumar Sangakkara so I am no exception," he said. "Rashid is my idol and I will talk to him to sort out my problems soon. But I have not given up hope on my career at all."