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Don’t compare me with Kohli: Umar Akmal

Wisden India logo Wisden India 22-02-2017

Umar Akmal, the talented Pakistani batsman, has said he should not be compared with Virat Kohli, the Indian captain, as they bat at different positions in the batting order.

Umar, 27, has been criticised for not being able to turn his huge potential into consistent performances, and not being able to finish the game.

Umar smashed a quick 42-ball 66 to help Lahore Qalandars beat Islamabad United, the defending champions, in a Pakistan Super League match on Monday (February 20).

He was instantly asked about not being able to finish the game, getting out with 34 needed.

Asked why he had not attained the heights Kohli had achieved, a visibly upset Umar retorted: “Look, you know more than me. When people compare me with Kohli, it’s not fair. It’s a matter of batting positions.

“Since his (Kohli) debut, he is batting at No. 3 and I have been playing at No. 6. Let me play at 3 and Kohli at 6, then compare me with him.

Photos: Virat Kohli's amazing records

Virat Kohli's amazing records

“Compare him with Babar Azam, who is doing well at 3. He is in great form, so you can compare him with Babar.”

The last two years have seen Kohli smash every record, and is the only batsman in the world who is in the top five of the International Cricket Council rankings in all three formats.

Umar’s figures are no match to Kohli’s. Umar has 3044 runs in 116 One-Day Internationals with only two hundreds, while Kohli has an astonishing 27 hundreds in 179 matches, 17 of them while chasing with 15 of those coming in successful chases.

Umar is also well behind in Twenty20 Internationals, having scored 1690 runs in 82 games with eight half-centuries. Kohli has played 48 T20Is, scoring 1709 with 16 fifties.

While Kohli is disciplined, committed and super fit, Umar lags behind in those areas as well.

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Umar is also regarded as indisciplined, and lost his place in the Test team after disobeying Misbah-ul-Haq’s instructions during the Zimbabwe tour in 2011. He and Ahmed Shahzad, the opener, were also not in the good books of Waqar Younis, the former coach.

Both were dropped on the basis of Waqar’s report after the World Cup 2015, and then following the World Twenty20 in India last year. Umar angered Waqar by complaining to Imran Khan, the inspirational former Pakistan captain, over his low position in the batting order.

Umar denied complaining about his batting position. “I never wailed over my number,” he insisted. “I do everything for my team. Whatever cricket I have played, it’s for the team and the number comes later. But when people compare me with Kohli, only then do I point out that I bat in the lower middle order.”

Umar praised Brendon McCullum, the Lahore skipper, for backing his players.

“Brendon is a great player, one of the best captains and is boosting every player. He has a role and he is performing it to the best of his ability,” said Umar.

Lahore’s win on Sunday lifted them to second position with six points from as many games and a better run-rate. Quetta Gladiators top the chart with seven points from five matches.

Islamabad also have six points from six matches while Karachi Kings have four points from their five games. The PSL takes a two-day break, with action resuming in Dubai on Thursday when Karachi take on Quetta.

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