November 11, 2007

Blood him now

Even the Pakistan Cricket Board has now realised that Kamran Akmal requires some time away from international cricket. Akmal's wicket keeping lapses have become a chronic disease--and a costly one for Pakistan cricket. There are psychological and technical issues that beg urgent attention, not just for the sake of Pakistan cricket but also for the future of Akmal, a former shining talent. Catches win matches is perhaps the oldest wisdom in cricket, and if your wicket keeper persists in dropping them then there can only be a harmful effect on your results.

The time to try somebody different arrived weeks possibly months ago but not a further moment can be wasted. Akmal's form is too wretched to risk in the Test series, while it would be equally unfair to plunge a rookie straight in. The only logical conclusion is to give Sarfraz Ahmed the remaining one-dayers to settle in before the Tests.

Kamran Akmal is young enough to win his place back but the only criterion for selection can be form. It should never be a nostalgic memory of what a player was once capable of. The PCB has often talked of its desire to ape the Australian system. It has even appointed an Australian coach rumoured to perfectly espouse that system's mentality. If either the PCB or Geoff Lawson hesitate even now, they should ask themselves what Australia would have done with the same problem? My guess is that the answer would be based on ruthlessness not sentimentality.

Kamran Abbasi is an editor, writer and broadcaster. He tweets here