Unfit Umar should be ashamed: Waqar

Legendary paceman condemns Pakistani batsman, who has been sent home from England for failing to meet fitness standards

Test legend Waqar Younis has launched a scathing broadside at renegade batsman Umar Akmal for tarnishing the reputation of Pakistan cricket by failing a fitness test on the eve of the Champions Trophy.

Akmal was sent home from the United Kingdom last week after coach Mickey Arthur deemed his fitness not up to scratch ahead of the one-day international tournament.

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The 26-year-old had been declared fit at the National Cricket Academy in Lahore by national selector Inzamam-ul-Haq, the former Pakistan captain known for his substantial frame.

But Inzamam's former teammate Waqar didn't hold back in his assessment of the incident, suggesting someone needs to be held accountable for the mix-up.

"To be blunt, the whole thing was just bizarre and should not have happened," the 87-Test veteran told Sky Sports.

"It has damaged the reputation of Pakistan and Pakistan cricket. Something has gone wrong and it's difficult to blame Umar, or the selectors, or Mickey Arthur until the full facts are known.

"The Pakistan Cricket Board needs to dig deep and uncover what went on and to resolve this issue to ensure it does not happen again.

"Whoever is responsible for this episode needs to own up and take responsibility."

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Akmal's international career has been chequered by controversy; just last month he was fined half his match fee for questioning teammate Junaid Khan's absence during a match in the Pakistan Cup.

The aggressive right-hander failed another fitness test in March, with ESPN reporting he'd weighed in at 91kg and had a fat-level reading of 115.6, well over what's considered high.

Waqar said Akmal should be "ashamed" of his latest transgression.

"Umar is his own worst enemy," the former quick continued. "He doesn't want to work hard, he doesn't want to put in the effort, he doesn't want to get fit, and it's embarrassing.

"He should be thoroughly ashamed that Mickey Arthur and the coaching staff have had to send him back to Pakistan.

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"Umar should look in the mirror and tell himself, 'In future I will sort this out'.

"Will he do it? I'm not sure that he will, as there have been many incidents involving him throughout his career.

"That is why the talent has not blossomed. He has not done justice to himself.

"I think the PCB, the coaches and the selectors have been very kind to Umar as they keep giving him the opportunities because everyone wants to see him succeed and do well at the international level.

"I guess he's happy with what he's doing but if this was me, I would feel ashamed."

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On his return to Pakistan, Akmal apologised for his conduct and stressed he hoped to see his replacement Haris Sohail perform well in his stead during the Champions Trophy.

"I apologise to all the fans who have been hurt by my conduct," Akmal told Geo News. "I still have a lot of cricket left in me and I aim to be back stronger than ever. I am even more focused on cricket now.

"I want to wish Haris Sohail best of luck. Regardless of whether I'm with the team or not, my best wishes will always be with them."

"My role model is Younis Khan, and even when he faced difficulties, he became even more determined.

"I am now determined to come back more than ever."

Champions Trophy 2017 Guide

Squads: Every Champions Trophy squad named so far

Group A: Australia, New Zealand, England, Bangladesh.

Group B: India, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Pakistan.


Warm-up matches

26 May – Australia v Sri Lanka, The Oval

27 May – Bangladesh v Pakistan, Edgbaston

28 May – India v New Zealand, The Oval

29 May – Australia v Pakistan, Edgbaston

30 May – New Zealand v Sri Lanka, Edgbaston

30 May – Bangladesh vs India, The Oval


1 June – England v Bangladesh, The Oval (Day)

2 June – Australia v New Zealand, Edgbaston (D)

3 June – Sri Lanka v South Africa, The Oval (D)

4 June – India v Pakistan, Edgbaston (D)

5 June – Australia v Bangladesh, The Oval (D/N)

6 June – England v New Zealand, Cardiff (D)

7 June – Pakistan v South Africa, Edgbaston (D/N)

8 June – India v Sri Lanka, The Oval (D)

9 June – New Zealand v Bangladesh, Cardiff (D)

10 June – England v Australia, Edgbaston (D)

11 June – India v South Africa, The Oval (D)

12 June – Sri Lanka v Pakistan, Cardiff (D)

14 June – First semi-final (A1 v B2), Cardiff (D)

15 June – Second semi-final (A2 v B1), Edgbaston (D)

18 June – Final, The Oval (D)

19 June – Reserve day (D)

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