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“Bogus attempt to divert attention” – PCB slams Akmal for Arthur outburst

Wisden India logo Wisden India 19-08-2017 Wisden India staff

The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) hit back at Umar Akmal on Friday (August 18) for his latest media outburst against Mickey Arthur. In a strongly worded press release, the PCB lashed out at the batsman for attempting to divert attention from his own inability to improve his fitness. The board have already issued a show-cause notice to Akmal for breaching the code of conduct, and also named his recent actions a ‘bogus attempt’ to shift focus despite receiving several chances to improve his fitness.

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"While making frivolous allegations against the national team management, Umar has made a bogus attempt to deviate attention from his own failings," the statement read. "Umar was given as many as seven chances to improve his fitness and match the standards of his teammates, laid out by the team management. Umar was given a program to improve his fitness like other players before the West Indies tour and after he failed the tests in Lahore, he was left out of the team."

In May this year, Akmal failed a fitness test in England that saw him dropped from the Pakistan's 15-man squad for the Champions Trophy. "After clearing another test before the squad selection on eve of the ICC Champions Trophy in England, Umar was included in the eventual 15 member squad," the release said.

"The PCB wants to stress that the team trainer conducts fitness tests of squad members before each international assignment and the tests before the Champions Trophy were conducted as a continuation of the policy. Once again Umar failed to attain the desired level of fitness and the team management was left with no option but to drop him from the squad."

On Wednesday, Akmal had accused Arthur, the Pakistan head coach, of verbally abusing him during an argument at the National Cricket Academy. "After I recovered, I went to the NCA to start working on my fitness and training but the coaching staff doesn't want to work with me at all," Akmal had told reporters.

"I then went to talk to Inzi bhai, but he referred me to Mickey Arthur. Arthur took me back to Inzi bhai's room and started scolding me and using bad language in front of Inzi bhai, which I found demeaning and insulting. It's not even my fault, and I find it painful that anyone should be allowed to swear at me. I accept my fitness isn't up to the mark, and I am trying to work on it, and I asked to be allowed a trainer to help me. But Mickey said I shouldn't even have come to the NCA, and should be playing club cricket instead. When the head coach is allowed to swear at someone whenever they wish, that is unacceptable."

Arthur, however, brushed aside all allegations saying: "I never stopped him from using the academy. Umar Akmal cannot expect that the support staff, who are for contracted players, are at his beck and call."

PCB also revealed that Arthur gave Akmal repeated chances for redemption but the latter couldn't reach the requisite fitness level to grab a spot in the white-ball formats. "Head Coach Mickey Arthur had placed Umar in his white ball format plans and gave him repeated chances for redemption. Unfortunately though, the batsman remained incapable of reaching the requisite fitness level. The PCB awaits his response to the show-cause issued to him yesterday and hopes that in the meantime, the batsman will refrain from making baseless allegations."

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