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November 14, 2012
Umar Akmal, the Pakistan batsman, has been left out by his department side Sui Northern Gas Pipelines Limited (SNGPL) from the President's Trophy, the Pakistan's domestic first-class tournament. Akmal had skipped several rounds of the tournament, but was 'discouraged' after being dropped as he had hoped to show his Test credentials in the remaining rounds of the competition.
SNGPL are currently unbeaten in the President's Trophy, topping the table with 45 points after winning five of their six matches. Akmal only featured in one game, against National Bank of Pakistan in mid-October. He played in two Twenty20s against an International XI led by Sanath Jayasuriya and in the Hong Kong Sixes in late October but mainly missed matches due to his brother Adnan's wedding between November 6 and 8. Akmal has been associated with SNGPL since 2007 and scored 2224 first-class runs for the department at 57.02.
"It's really discouraging for me when I was snubbed by my department for just a petty reason," Akmal told reporters in Lahore. "I am in full practice and was meant to play most of the rounds but due to Adnan's wedding I had to miss most of the matches- a reason that was known to the management but still I am dropped. I was informed that it's a decision taken by higher management, and not the team management."
Basit Ali, the SNGPL coach and former Pakistan batsman, said Akmal was dropped over his form and he need to work on his technique to play first-class cricket. "He needs to learn how to bat in the longer-format of the game," Basit told reporters on the sidelines of the on-going match against Pakistan International Airlines at Gaddafi Stadium. "No doubt he is a great talent but he must sense the nature of the formats and play according to the format. He wasn't in good touch and was asked to play club cricket."
Akmal, 22, scored his maiden ODI hundred in his third match of his career and also made a century in his debut Test in 2009. While his limited-overs career has flourished since that promising start, his Test fortunes have waned, and he is yet to establish himself in the side.
Akmal shrugged off the tag of being a limited-overs cricketer, and said he was keen to play the longer format. "I have scored a lot of runs with good average (35.82) and I think I have done well with my Test cricket," Akmal said, "but perhaps because I play aggressively, the label is there. But I had a golden opportunity to play the President's Trophy to impress the selectors and win back my Test place. I am disappointed at being dropped (by the SNGPL)."
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