Umar Akmal must not keep wickets

Last Updated: Mar 09, 2011, 23:12 PM IST

Despite Kamran Akmal`s poor show behind the stumps against New Zealand, former Pakistan skipper Wasim Akram said the team management should stick to the beleaguered keeper instead of handing over the job to younger brother Umar in the ongoing World Cup.

"I hear the team management is toying with the idea of asking Umar Akmal to keep wickets instead of Kamran. If that happens, Pakistan will make a blunder, he said.

"As the cliche goes, two wrongs don`t make a right. In my book, wicket-keeping is a specialist`s job, and Kamran is the only one we have in the squad.

"I have never seen Umar keeping at the international level and he can`t be used to cover up the errors made by someone who specialises in a job. Since keeping wickets is a tough job, only Kamran must do the job, not a part-timer," said Akram.

Kamran dropped four easy catches in the match against New Zealand last night and two of those included Man of the Match Ross Taylor`s chances.

Dropped on 0 and 8, Taylor went on to hit an unbeaten 131 to help New Zealand post a massive 302-7.

Kamran had also missed two stumping chances against Kumar Sangakarra at a crucial stage of the match against Sri Lanka.

Pakistan skipper Shahid Afridi had hinted at the post-match press conference that Umar can don the gloves if needed in the next match against Zimbabwe.

"Keeping with Umar is very much an option and we might try it in the next game," Afridi had said.

Akram said the defeat against New Zealand has exposed the chinks in the Pakistan armoury and labelled Afridi`s captaincy as "erroneous".

"Toss is crucial in a ODI match but that it can kill the spirit of an entire team before a match has even started, is hard to believe. This is exactly what happened to Pakistan at Pallekelle. Shahid Afridi seemed to have lost the match at the toss.

"It was a bad day for Pakistan in this World Cup and I hope it is a one-off day. Poor bowling, bad fielding and hopeless bating gave the Kiwis a runaway victory. Even Afridi`s captaincy was erroneous."

"Pakistan was 70 per cent dependant on the toss. After losing it, the team`s body language was negative and retreated into a shell. This was surprising for a team that had a spring in its feet thus far."

"Pakistan looked very ordinary on the field. Bowling was very average. When they came out to bat, there was no planning. While qualifying for the quarterfinals should not be an issue, Pakistan must have learnt quite a few lessons from the humiliating defeat," said Akram.

He also said that the team`s lacklustre show against the Kiwis has also exposed the bowlers` vulnerability against established opponents.

"Pakistan`s wrongs will be exposed and that`s what the Kiwis did. That Pakistan`s bowling is vulnerable was proved.

Shoaib Akhtar, Abdul Razzaq and Saeed Ajmal all got hammered. In the powerplays, the attack looked listless and Akhtar was hardly the bowler we know."

"Shahid Afridi clearly looked bereft of ideas as his bowlers didn`t know where to pitch when Taylor was going berserk. Why didn`t Afridi tell his bowlers to change the angle, or go round the wicket or even fire in a few Yorkers outside the off-stump?" he questioned.

Akram said that Saeed Ajmal is the man who can give Pakistan`s bowling the spin-energy it needs.

"...But first Ajmal has to believe that he is a wicket-taking bowler and his priority is not to contain runs."

PTI