Sri Lanka v Pakistan, 4th ODI, Colombo August 7, 2009

Kamran taught me to handle pressure - Umar

Umar Akmal, who destroyed Sri Lanka with a magnificent maiden one-day international century in the fourth ODI at the Premadasa Stadium, has said that he had learned to tackle pressure from his elder brother Kamran Akmal, also a free-scoring batsman.

Umar walked in with his team at 130 for 4 in the 26th over and went on to add a crucial 176 with his captain Younis Khan to raise his team's total to 321. The hosts were bowled out for 175, handing Pakistan their first win on tour. Pakistan trail the five-match series 3-1 with the final game on Sunday.

"I've learnt a lot from my brother on how to tackle pressure. When the team needed runs I knew how to play according to the situation," Umar said after his blazing unbeaten 102 off 72 balls that comprised four sixes and five fours.

"I am thankful to the team management for selecting me and placing faith in my ability. The captain, coach and senior members helped me."

Umar, 19, impressed with a typically aggressive fifty in the third ODI in Dambulla and the twin knocks have impressed his coach, Intikhab Alam.

"I don't think you can say that Umar resembles his elder brother in the way he plays. It's his natural ability to hit the ball," Intikhab said. "The good thing about him is that he is not afraid to play his shots. He accepts challenges and to hit Lasith Malinga over his head for a six is not a joke. You've got to have a lot of ability to do that. It would have given him a lot of confidence.

"Umar has already made his mark, especially coming into the Pakistan team and the way he played showed a lot of maturity. This is what we need: young lads with strong legs and strong minds. The way he went through the whole situation and the whole scenario, full marks to him. He's got a long way to go but also a tremendous future.

"Recently he went to Australia with the Pakistan A team and scored three hundreds. We knew exactly what he was doing there so we all thought after the Test matches that this young boy has done well and deserves some recognition. He's been batting well before and also in domestic cricket. We thought it is the right time to get him over for the ODIs."

Intikhab said the wonderful partnership between Umar and captain Younis (89) gave a lot of confidence to the team for the final ODI and the Twenty20. The pair added 176 off 139 balls for the fifth wicket, with Umar's contribution being 95.

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  • Asim on August 10, 2009, 10:22 GMT

    brothers, what about ahmed shehzad, i think he's an asset for the pakistani team as well, top order batsmen like an opener

  • Huzaifah on August 9, 2009, 18:31 GMT

    MashAllah ...... this is good news for Pakistan cricket that they found a very good middle order batsman to go with their find of Mohammad Aamer in the T20 World Cup. His role will be crucial in the coming months and as a result of his good performance he will put pressure on the under-performing seniors to up their game if they want to to retain their place in the side, especially the middle order, as evident with him being accomodated at the expense of Shoaib Malik. Another plus for Pakistan is that he is already accustomed to Australian conditions with his A-team tour and IF he continues to perform in the manner he is, inshAllah, he will play an important role in Pakistan's success, if it is to be in Australia.

  • Mohammad on August 9, 2009, 8:32 GMT

    I dont know what kind of pressure is Younis from Malik and Misbah, other wise they were long gone. preparing team for the next worldcup Pak has to select Fawad and umar. i dont think malik is a middle order batsman, he repalced Saqlain and thats it where he deserve to play in lower order as spinner having said that Fawad is a well choice to replace malik. their should be consistancy in selection to keep giving chances to youngsters like Khuram Manzoor. To its look like Younis doesn't like Fawads selection in the team at all, haven't seen him bowling in T20 world cup and in current whole series. now dont mess with this young Omer Akmal his place is at no 5 like Saleem Malik had his for one decade to keep flowing the runs. bring Fawad at no 4 after Yousif and let them to get use to, other wise one of the next tour in Australia will eat Pak team alive.

  • Muhammad on August 8, 2009, 23:29 GMT

    So true there. the first time i saw him bat and when he played a cover drive, for a moment i thought its kamran akmal playing that shot to end with he is a gem. period

  • pradeep on August 8, 2009, 18:01 GMT

    Well were was tis guy during 1st odi!!!oh!!Great to watch tis guy batting. I am sure and bold to say he is going to get a place in the list which comprises of single hand match winners like Shewag, Yuvraj, Inzy, Bevan, A.Morkel. Congrats to umar. I want to see him batting at no.4 or opening for Pak. He along wit younis or kamran akmal no doubt it will be a delight to watch. Hoping to see tat in next match.

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