Pakistan news June 10, 2017

'No rift with Inzamam over player fitness' - Arthur

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Umar Akmal's fitness has been under scrutiny for some time © AFP

Pakistan coach Mickey Arthur has insisted both he and chief selector Inzamam-ul-Haq have the same expectations over player fitness after Umar Akmal was axed from the Champions Trophy squad a week before the tournament.

Akmal had been omitted from the West Indies tour when he was the one player from a group of 31 who failed to meet fitness standards. He then made it into the final 15-man squad for the Champions Trophy at the last minute after clearing a fitness test supervised by Inzamam at the National Cricket Academy. However, shortly after arriving in England, he failed two further tests overseen by Arthur and was dispatched back to Pakistan.

Arthur, addressing the issue for the first time in the tournament, said there was no question of any part of the Pakistan management accepting different standards of fitness.

"Inzi and myself are on exactly the same page," he said in Cardiff ahead of Pakistan's decisive group match against Sri Lanka. "In terms of that test, I'm not sure how that happened. We were always going to test the guys here so every guy who is now here is fine. Inzi has bought into exactly what we want to do so there's no disconnect between us at all, we are on the same page."

Arthur struck an exasperated tone when talking specifically of Akmal, whose ODI career has stalled on 116 matches since the tour of Australia. "It was incredibly disappointing with Umar Akmal because he didn't tour West Indies for the same reason. I would have thought in that month that he would have done something.

"He's just got to get out there and do it. All the players know what the standards are and they need to do it because it's a culture we are trying to develop. It doesn't happen overnight. The standards are going to go up and up. There has to be that culture of hard work, commitment and dedication because that shows us players really want to play."

At the time of Akmal being removed from the squad, Inzamam said: "We had a set a fitness standard which isn't really a tough one to start with. But he still didn't meet the average level. So whoever the player is, whatever his performance is like, we could not select him. Akmal being dropped is a reprimand and it's a major blow for any player. He is a good player, we needed him, but we had to take a decision."

Asked about the fitness levels on show at the Champions Trophy, Arthur said: "It's one the things we work tirelessly on and we are going in the right direction."

Andrew McGlashan is a deputy editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • East_West on June 13, 2017, 4:42 GMT

    Inzi and Fitness SHOULD NOT be in the same sentence! ...just saying!!

  • cricfan27911960 on June 12, 2017, 14:45 GMT

    Does anyone know what test he failed?

    Yoyo test / beep test? Bodyfat calculation? Strength test? General 'not fit for playing' test?

  • imran_abbas on June 12, 2017, 13:41 GMT

    He should work on his fitness and come back. Pakistan need him in limited overs sides.

  • Ashhar-Hasan on June 12, 2017, 6:06 GMT

    Arthur is the best man for this team, I don't know why people are criticizing him.

  • cricfan01835720 on June 12, 2017, 5:41 GMT

    @SEO7SEO - Obviously you either have a short term memory or are not a Pakistan fan, Inzi has contributed great victories over the years. That famous test win against BD at Multan, where he contributed over a 100 runs with the last two wickets. Countless ODI wins against India and memorable heroics in England in tests dated from 96, 01, 05. Get your facts straight!

  • cricfan01835720 on June 12, 2017, 5:22 GMT

    For God's sake, just get rid of Ahmed Shehzad, Sohail Tanvir, Umar Akmal, Kamran Akmal, Hafeez and Wahad Riaz for good!

  • seo7seo on June 12, 2017, 0:46 GMT

    Those who think inzi should be the coach, remember that he himself has never been a consistent player. Most of his career, he was remembered for two innings in 1992 world cup. I don't remember if he contributed an any other considerable match. A man who was known for poor running the between the wickets can't be the coach of pak team. He has no coaching experience for any considerable international team. No coaching certifications.

  • Barney on June 11, 2017, 23:46 GMT

    we need to move on from the mediocrity of the akmals and set a trend for future players.......

  • dmqi on June 11, 2017, 20:52 GMT

    @ umar Akmal supporters. He has been given many chances. He could not utilize those to develop to the level he should have been. Akmals are known for indiscipline and poor attitude. There are many young players with the same potential Akmal had at his early days. They must get chances before this fatty man becomes lean enough.

  • mansoor777 on June 11, 2017, 17:55 GMT

    Sarfaraz should open the Innings with zaman. rest azhar Ali and bring All Rounder faheem Ashraf . see the difference . Pak will be tough to beat

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