'There is a lesson for all players': Ramiz Raja launches fresh attack on Pakistan star with 'wasted talent' jibe
Former Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chief Ramiz Raja also issued a bold statement against the star batter, who played a crucial knock in the Pakistan Super League (PSL) 2023 on Sunday.
Sarfaraz Ahmed's Quetta Gladiators suffered a heartbreaking defeat at the hands of Islamabad United as Shadab Khan and Co. won the final-over thriller to seal their berth in the playoffs of the Pakistan Super League (PSL) 2023 on Sunday. Batting first in match No.21 of the PSL 2023, Sarfaraz and Co. posted a challenging total for Islamabad United at the Pindi Club Ground. Veteran batter Umar Akmal played a sublime knock to help Quetta Gladiator score 179-6 in 20 overs.
While Mohammad Nawaz (52) and Najibullah Zadran (59) slammed half-centuries, middle-order batter Akmal played a crucial knock of 43 off just 14 balls in the high-scoring contest. Batting at a strike rate of 307.14, Akmal smoked five sixes in his entertaining knock against Islamabad United. Sharing his views about Akmal's outstanding knock in the PSL 2023, former Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chief Ramiz Raja came up with a bold claim and said that there is no bigger match-winner than the star batter in Pakistan cricket.
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However, Raja also took an aim at Akmal, whose international career was littered with disciplinary issues. “Umar Akmal's story is a literal definition of great talent but wasted talent, unfortunately. However, there is a lesson for all the players, if you are not disciplined and if you cannot zip your mouth while playing, then there is a larger probability that you will be at the receiving end of injustice- quite an unfortunate scenario,” Raja was quoted as saying by CricketPakistan.
“He was one of my favourite players when he started cricket, and we all saw a glimpse today of how much talent he carries. He destroyed Islamabad United's finest bowling attack,” added Raja, who played 57 Tests and 198 One Day Internationals (ODIs). Playing a crucial knock for Quetta Gladiators, Akmal remained unbeaten on 43 off 14 balls. However, his blistering knock went in vain as Islamabad United chased down the 180-run target in the final over to enter the playoff stage of the PSL 2023. Akmal, who will turn 33 in May, has played 16 Tests, 121 ODIs and 84 T20Is for Pakistan. Akmal last played an international match in 2019 against Sri Lanka at Gaddafi Stadium.
“I am not sure what the future holds for him - will he be able to become an asset for us or not, but in today's date, there is no bigger match-winner than Umar Akmal in Pakistan - playing at 6 or 7. There have been fitness issues with him, but there is a discipline problem as well. You are supposed to play cricket with blinkers on; once you quit playing cricket, you are free to give any kind of opinion. He needs to control his quarreling attitude,” Raja added.